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248th -- The Bouquet


It is great to continually trust the Lord in the good times of life as well
as the bad times. Things will not always go our way and in the difficult
times of life, it is important that we keep trusting the Lord. He is our
strength and comforter and when tough times come our way, God is the One 
who can calm our hearts and lift up our spirits.

I hope you are both blessed and ministered to by today's story.


Sandra felt as low as the heels of her expensive shoes as she pushed
against a November gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy,
like spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, a 
minor automobile accident stole her ease.

During this Thanksgiving week she would have delivered a son. She grieved
over her loss. As if that weren't enough, her husband's company threatened
a transfer. Then her sister, whose holiday visit she coveted, called 
saying she could not come. What's worse, Sandra's friend infuriated her by
suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would allow her
to empathize with others who suffer. "She has no idea what I'm feeling," 
thought Sandra with a shudder.

Thanksgiving? Thankful for what? She wondered. For a careless driver whose
truck was hardly scratched when he rear-ended her? For an airbag that saved
her life but took that of her child?

"Good afternoon, can I help you?" The shop clerk's approach startled her.
"I need an arrangement," stammered Sandra.

"For Thanksgiving? Do you want beautiful but ordinary, or would you like 
to challenge the day with a customer favorite I call the 'Thanksgiving
Special'?" asked the shop clerk. "I'm convinced that flowers tell stories,"
she continued. "Are you looking for something that conveys 'gratitude' 
this Thanksgiving?"

"Not exactly!" Sandra blurted out. "In the last five months, everything 
that could go wrong has gone wrong."

Sandra regretted her outburst, and was surprised when the shop clerk said;
"I have the perfect arrangement for you."

Then the door's small bell rang, and the shop clerk said, "Hi, Barbara...
let me get your order." She politely excused herself and walked toward a 
small workroom, then quickly reappeared, carrying an arrangement of 
greenery, bows, and long-stemmed thorny roses.

Except the ends of the rose stems were neatly snipped: there were no flowers.

"Want this in a box?" asked the clerk. 

Sandra watched for the customer's response. Was this a joke? Who would want
rose stems with no flowers! She waited for laughter, but neither woman 
laughed. "Yes, please," Barbara replied with an appreciative smile.

"You'd think after three years of getting the special, I wouldn't be so 
moved by its significance, but I can feel it right here, all over again."
She said as she gently tapped her chest.

"Uh," stammered Sandra, "that lady just left with, uh... she just left with
no flowers!"

"Right", said the clerk, "I cut off the flowers. That's the Special. I call
it the Thanksgiving Thorns Bouquet."

"Oh, come on, you can't tell me someone is willing to pay for that!"
exclaimed Sandra. 

"Barbara came into the shop three years ago feeling much like you feel 
today," explained the clerk.

"She thought she had very little to be thankful for. She had lost her 
father to cancer, the family business was failing, her son was into drugs,
and she was facing major surgery." "That same year I had lost my husband,"
continued the clerk, "and for the first time in my life, had just spent 
the holidays alone. I had no children, no husband, no family nearby, and 
too great a debt to allow any travel."

"So what did you do?" asked Sandra. 

"I learned to be thankful for thorns," answered the clerk quietly. "I've 
always thanked God for good things in life and never to ask Him why those
good things happened to me, but when bad stuff hit, did I ever ask! It 
took time for me to learn that dark times are important. I have always 
enjoyed the 'flowers' of life, but it took thorns to show me the beauty of
God's comfort. You know, the Bible says that God comforts us when we're 
afflicted, and from His consolation we learn to comfort others."

Sandra sucked in her breath as she thought about the very thing her friend
had tried to tell her. "I guess the truth is I don't want comfort. I've 
lost a baby and I'm angry with God."

Just then someone else walked in the shop. "Hey, Phil!" shouted the clerk
to the balding, rotund man.

"My wife sent me in to get our usual Thanksgiving arrangement...twelve 
thorny, long-stemmed stems!" laughed Phil as the clerk handed him a tissue-
wrapped arrangement from the refrigerator.

"Those are for your wife?" asked Sandra incredulously. "Do you mind me 
asking why she wants something that looks like that?"

"No...I'm glad you asked," Phil replied. "Four years ago my wife and I 
nearly divorced. After forty years, we were in a real mess, but with the 
Lord's grace and guidance, we slogged through problem after problem. He 
rescued our marriage. Jenny here (the clerk) told me she kept a vase of 
rose stems to remind her of what she learned from 'thorny' times, and that
was good enough for me. I took home some of those stems. My wife and I 
decided to label each one for a specific 'problem' and give thanks for 
what that problem taught us."

As Phil paid the clerk, he said to Sandra, "I highly recommend the Special!"

"I don't know if I can be thankful for the thorns in my life." Sandra said
to the clerk. "It's all too...fresh."

"Well," the clerk replied carefully, "My experience has shown me that 
thorns make roses more precious. We treasure God's providential care more
during trouble than at any other time. Remember, it was a crown of thorns
that Jesus wore so we might know His love. Don't resent the thorns."

Tears rolled down Sandra's cheeks. For the first time since the accident,
she loosened her grip on resentment. "I'll take those twelve long-stemmed
thorns, please," she managed to choke out.

"I hoped you would," said the clerk gently. "I'll have them ready in a minute."

"Thank you. What do I owe you?"

"Nothing. Nothing but a promise to allow God to heal your heart. The first
year's arrangement is always on me." The clerk smiled and handed a card to
Sandra. "I'll attach this card to your arrangement, but maybe you would 
like to read it first."

It read: "My God, I have never thanked You for my thorns. I have thanked 
You a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorns. Teach me
the glory of the cross I bear; teach me the value of my thorns. Show me 
that I have climbed closer to You along the path of pain. Show me that, 
through my tears, the colors of Your rainbow look much more brilliant."

Praise Him for your roses; thank Him for your thorns.

Author Unknown

Read and meditate on these scriptures:

Psalm 34:17-19 "The righteous cry, and the LORD heareth, and delivereth 
them out of all their troubles. The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a 
broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit. Many are the 
afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all."

Jeremiah 33:2-3 "Thus saith the LORD the maker thereof, the LORD that 
formed it, to establish it; the LORD is his name; Call unto me, and I will
answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not."

Philippians 4:4-7 "Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. Let
your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand. Be careful for
nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving
let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which
passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ

All scriptures can be found in the King James Version Bible.

Today's Selected Poem: EVEN IF
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/enpoem108.htm

Today's Selected Testimony: FLORENCE'S TESTIMONY
Click here to read --- http://www.Godswork.org/testimony168.htm

In Christ's Service, 

Dwayne Savaya 
Gods Work Ministry 


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