I have long maintained that, despite the saying, life is like a bed of roses.Perhaps most people only think of sweet blossoms when they think of roses.I know, however–from personal experience–that roses have thorns, too!The wild roses that bloom along our roads in June are my very favorite flowers.Many’s the time I have pulled the pickup over for a few minutes to gather a fragrant armful before continuing home.In the course of the picking, my fingers usually end up full of thorns.But they are worth the trouble.My pricked fingers are quickly dismissed when I bury my nose in my bouquet.And so does life contain both the bitter and the sweet.
When you look at your life, do you see the roses, or do you only see the thorns?Are you enjoying the blessings in each day, and thanking God for them, or do they go unnoticed because you are thinking only of what tomorrow may bring?True, some of us are more optimistic by nature than others, but contentment is a virtue that we each must cultivate, regardless of personality.
Life is good, these days.I have the best husband in the world, the two sweetest boys in the world, prairie flowers, a cow to milk, horses to ride, fresh cool mornings, sunset gold on the hills, little showers and rainbows, a fire in the stove, a song to sing, a piano to play, and over and above and through and in all the sure knowledge that God is guiding and keeping and protecting us.He most certainly “giveth us richly all things to enjoy…”(I Tim. 6:17)
Yet how often do I forget all this and get caught up in what is not.How many times, in those days when I was single, did I thank God for the opportunity to be fully focused on pleasing Him?Not many, I’m afraid.Instead, my thoughts tended to beturning ever Ben-ward, wondering how that “unofficial” courtship of ours would ever end, longing for a chance to be together, wishing he’d write me, daydreaming of “happily ever after.”After our marriage, when suddenly my assignment changed, and I now had to focus on pleasing my husband, I looked back on that season with a new appreciation for how good it had been.
Few things steal my joy faster than being over-focused on something I hope will happen “someday.”I miss out on present happiness when I get depressed in a season of waiting for blessings yet to come.As a new bride, I assumed that motherhood would follow on the heels of marriage.Wrong.One month passed, then another, and another, and another… “Why, Lord?” I wondered.I longed for a baby, for the chance to give my husband a child. Every month hope would rise; every month hope was disappointed, and I would crash into the abyss of sadness–again.
The baby came, at last, and then I wished for time alone with my husband!Do you see what happened?I had a good thing, and I missed my chance to savor it to the fullest.And then the opportunity was forever past.When I look back on our “honeymoon” year, the first thing I remember is being depressed over not having a baby.I should have been focused on delighting in my new role as wife to the man I loved, and keeper of the home of my dreams.I should have been thanking God for granting me the desires of my heart, and quietly trusting that He would give us a child in His time.I should have been content…
No matter how good life is, I can miss the roses for the thorns if I am discontent.Like the dog carrying his bone across the creek, I drop the treasures of today when I snatch at the mirage of “tomorrow,” and they are forever gone.Like a cow reaching through the barb-wire fence to munch on ditch grass, I overlook the goodness right in front of my nose.
Few things I have seen bespeak contentment and quiet trust to me like the sight of a herd of cattle grazing peacefully in a pasture.They take no thought for the morrow.They do not fret over yesterday’s mishaps.They harbor no worries.They simply take what is given them by the Creator’s hand.And perhaps, in the acceptance of the gift lies the gratitude for it.
How about you?What season of life are you supposed to be enjoying right now?What good thing has your Saviour set before you?Are you single, at home with your family?Treasure the time you have to build relationships with your siblings, and set them a good example to follow.Are you courting?Savor every minute of it–you will not pass this way again.Do you have young children?Delight in your role as their mother; pour out your life gladly for their nurture.Wherever you find yourself,“be content with such things as ye have…”(Heb. 13:5)
When life seems all thorns, just keep looking; you’re sure to find a bud sooner or later.Every day, remember that you are the most blessed woman alive, and wholeheartedly thank the Giver of such goodness as our God has bestowed upon you.The grass is always greener when we look at life through grateful eyes.