And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
Roses are perhaps the world’s favorite flower. However, there is a facet of growing roses that we don’t focus on—fertilizing. Yet, fertilizer is a very necessary part of growing beautiful blooms. Unfortunately, the best fertilizer to produce lovely roses is the natural type that smells very badly. No one likes the odor, but everyone likes the results. This fertilizer, however, can be compared to the painful experiences of life, especially those that come through the difficult people we all encounter.
When we contemplate or ‘smell’ these unpleasant events by themselves, they smell horrible and seem so unnecessary. Yet, similar to the purpose of fertilizer, we can know that God uses these events our lives to add richness to the soil of our hearts so that as we grow, our roots are strong and we are healthy.
Yes, fertilizer stinks! Perhaps in your life, it was an unkind act by a member of your family. Or possibly you had your hopes for the future dashed by cruel circumstances. Whatever the painful experience, be encouraged--you will be richer for what you have endured—if you allow God to cultivate this experience into the roots of your life.
The Russian author, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, spent ten years in a Soviet work camp. Later he would say, “I nourished my soul there, and I say without hesitation: ‘Bless you, prison, for having been in my life.’”
The painful things that happen in our lives are not pleasant at the time. We’d do almost anything to avoid them if we could, especially conflict with people who make us miserable. But we can’t always avoid these people or the circumstances that bring us into dispute with them. Yet, God can use these circumstances to bring future beauty into our lives.
The writer of the book of Hebrews in the Bible said, “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace” (Hebrews 12:11 NIV).
There was a young woman who made the decision to live in Haiti for a year-long internship in a children’s home, teaching English to the boys and girls there. But five months into her internship a series of problems and disappointments occurred in her life A hurricane hit exactly where she was living, Power was completely gone; all communication was cut off, and many of her belongings were destroyed. Then, an uncle had to have emergency heart surgery. After this, a politician in the area began to take out his anger on any foreigner in sight. The orphanage she was living in was broken into and many of her belongings were taken, forcing the entire group to have to move. Next, she learned her father would have to have the same heart surgery his brother had just had, and she would not be able to be with him for the surgery. Nor would she be home for the birth of her sister’s third child. All of this happened within a five-month period.
What was her reaction? She gave thanks to God for being her rock and her refuge because she said that without His strength she would have given up. The Bible verse Psalm 62:8 spoke to her heart: “Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge.”
With the trials and difficulties came God’s grace and goodness. In fact, she says that through the problems she has been joyfully pressing deeper into God’s will for her. Yes, the fertilizer that came into her life caused roses to bloom.
If you have had a load of “fertilizer” dumped on you, don’t waste it. Think of it as something God can use to cause the roses in your life to bloom—bigger and more fragrant than ever.
Resource Reading: Philippians 2:12-18