My neighbor was right-on about the cactus on her front porch railing. Its spectacular blooms would last a day. I was there with a camera the morning they opened, and I wasn’t disappointed. Who would guess that such beauty could emerge from such unfriendly, thorny plants?
I thought of the Bible’s similar observation about transient things in 1 Peter 1:24-25, quoting Isaiah 40:6-8:
All men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord stands forever.
It’s easy to pluck out these verses and go no further. But the context says a lot more. In the preceding verses, Peter says being “born again” in Jesus means we have “imperishable” seed within us. Then, after quoting Isaiah, he continues:
And this is the word that was preached to you. Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good. (1 Peter 1:25b-2:3)
In other words, bloom for Jesus for all you’re worth! If your life contains any of the negative characteristics he listed, something’s not right between you and Jesus. It’s a pretty grim list, too. Eugene Peterson paraphrased it this way: “So clean house! Make a clean sweep of malice and pretense, envy and hurtful talk.” Ouch! All of those are like cactus thorns!
Need a soul boost? Go back and read the entire first chapter of 1 Peter that ends with the verses quoted above. It seems that Peter is so overwhelmed by the Lord’s gracious redemptive work in his life that he can’t contain himself. His faith flowers forth, and not just for a day!