And we know [with great confidence] that God [who is deeply concerned about us] causes all things to work together [as a plan] for good for those who love God, to those who are called according to his plan and purpose. (Romans 8:28, Amplified Bible)
Tony Evans tells the story of seeing a woman who was holding some dead roses. The site caught his attention because he wondered why she was holding those drooping, lifeless flowers. To him such flowers seemed good for nothing.
Then he watched as the woman began crumpling up the roses. At that point his curiosity was piqued enough to walk over to her and ask her what she was doing. She answered by explaining to him that the roses were sufficiently dead enough and dry enough to crush to create potpourri. Even though the roses were dead on the outside, they still had a sweet fragrance on the inside.
Life can be hard, downright brutal in fact. It can take vibrant, healthy situations and relationships and cause them to become as drooping and lifeless as those roses in that woman’s hand. And truth be told, metaphorically speaking, most of us are walking around carrying some dead roses. But can God use those dead roses to create some sweet-smelling potpourri? You bet He can.
The Bible’s classic passage to convey this truth is Romans 8:28, the text verse for this post. I used the Amplified Bible’s rendering because I suspect that many of us have heard the King James translation’s version so much that the power of the verse has become a little lost on us. You’ll note that Paul, writing under the inspiration of God, says, “We KNOW that God causes ALL things to work together for GOOD in the life of those who love God and are called according to His purpose and plan.” That would be you, Christian. Therefore, you should claim Paul’s statement as an encouraging promise that can be applied to anything that life throws at you.
A divorce, the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the diagnosis of a potentially fatal disease, an eviction notice — these all might be likened to dead roses. Of course, the ultimate example of “dead roses” is the death of Jesus Christ on the cross. But who could even begin to calculate the immeasurable good (the sweet-smelling potpourri, we might say) that God has brought out of that death and continues to bring out of it? I think you’ll agree with me that calling each Christian’s salvation experience “good” is a landmark understatement!
Christian, it is with all this in mind that I encourage you to get alone with God sometime and have a serious talk with Him about the “dead roses” in your life. Ask Him to help you get past the hurt of them. Ask Him to help you get over the bitterness that has settled upon you in the wake of them. And be sure to ask Him to bring sweet-smelling potpourri out of them. Not only does Romans 8:28 guarantee that He can do that and will do it, Christ’s death on the cross proves that the greater the loss, the greater the potpourri will be. This is why I say that you’d be well advised to give God your “dead roses” and let Him start crushing them. If you think about it, all you’ve got to lose is an armful of death.