I don’t know about you, but my favorite time of the year is when the flower growing season is at its height. The diversity of plants and flowers has fascinated me since I was a child as we eagerly looked for flame lilies (our national flower) and ground orchids in the veld, around Christmas time, and we would fill a big copper bowl with our findings! I was looking for a verse that would describe the joy I felt in flowers, and I came across this verse in Genesis “blessings of the grain and flowers, blessings reaching to the utmost bounds of the everlasting hills. These shall be the blessings upon the head of Joseph who was exiled from his brothers.” O wow! That really spoke to me about God’s provision of blessing in flowers when we are feel low. Have you ever looked across the hillsides when the hills are alive with yellow and purple flowers? Absolute glory!
Joseph had been sold off into slavery by his brothers as a young boy. He must have felt so alone, and yet here God said the flowers will be a blessing on his head! After I had been divorced and felt rejected, feeling like a slave with the hard grind of making ends meet after living in a beautiful home with gardens. I was living in a small upstairs apartment with no garden at the time but was able to turn this around when I could walk around the local parks filled with beautiful rose gardens and enjoy them as if they were mine. The huge benefit of this was I did not have to be responsible to watering them, pruning or feeding them. I could just enjoy them! This is surely what God meant about the blessing of the flowers, they are just there to be enjoyed.
When I was widowed, people kindly sent me flowers. The flowers at my late husband’s funeral were a beautiful symbol of his life and the colors of his Dutch background with huge orange day lilies. Flowers have a language of their own and the type and color can be symbols for feelings. Red roses for love, white for a wedding, white lilies for death. Nations have their own national flower; it is like a banner that rallies you. When you experience grief through the loss of a significant person in your life, flowers help to comfort and cheer you through the dark days. Elton John rewrote the words of” Candle in the Wind” to sing at Princess Diana’s funeral, he said ‘Goodbye England’s rose”, what a comfort that was to the English people as they mourned her loss.
As an artist, I have painted or photographed many a flower and they are still one of my favorite subjects. Flowers are used as decoration in so many places, they are architectural features on buildings and play a part in rituals and ceremonies. The lampstands and decorations for the Israelites Tabernacle and Temple had almond flowers, rosebuds and open flowers and palm tree carved into the cedar panels, these were often covered in gold leaf. Some of the most beautiful classical gardens are drawn with small green hedges or borders and different colored flower panels in the spaces. Cities sometimes use flowers to decorate a garden crest motif at the entrance of the city.
When you are going through times of grief and tears, when you are feeling shunned and sent away. When you are feeling alone, go and find a garden, look at the flowers, enjoy them and meditate on them, remember God gave us flowers as a blessing. There is an old hymn about Jesus walking and talking in the garden while the dew was still on the roses. Look at those flowers and see if you can meet with Jesus and talk out your grief with him.