You all know that I have been sustained throughout my life by three saving graces – my family, my friends, and a faith in the power of resilience and hope. These graces have carried me through difficult times and they have brought more joy to the good times than I ever could have imagined.
Have you heard the tale of the aloe plant,
Away in the sunny clime?
By humble growth of a hundred years
It reaches its blooming time;
And then a wondrous bud at its crown
Breaks into a thousand flowers;
This floral queen, in its blooming seen,
Is the pride of the tropical bowers,
But the flower to the plant is sacrifice,
For it blooms but once, and it dies.
Have you further heard of the aloe plant,
That grows in the sunny clime;
How every one of its thousand flowers,
As they drop in the blooming time,
Is an infant plant that fastens its roots
In the place where it falls on the ground,
And as fast as they drop from the dying stem,
Grow lively and lovely all ’round?
By dying, it liveth a thousandfold
In the young that spring from the death of the old.
Have you heard the tale of the pelican,
The Arabs’ Gimel el Bahr,
That lives in the African solitudes,
Where the birds that live lonely are?
Have you heard how it loves its tender young,
And cares and toils for their good,
It brings them water from mountains far,
And fishes the seas for their food.
In famine it feeds them–what love can devise!
The blood of its bosom–and, feeding them, dies.
Have you heard this tale–the best of them all–
The tale of the Holy and True,
He dies, but His life, in unfold souls
Lives on in the world anew;
His seed prevails, and is filling the earth,
As stars fill the sky above.
He taught us to yield up the love of life,
For the sake of the life of love.
His death is our life, His loss is our gain;
The joy for the tear, the peace for the pain.
New International Version (NIV)
8 What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ
Light is always costly and comes at the expense of that which produces it. An unlit candle does not shine, for burning must come before the light. And we can be of little use to others with-out a cost to ourselves. Burning suggest suffering, and we try to avoid pain.
We tend to feel we are doing the greatest good in the world when we are strong and fit for active duty and when our hearts and hands are busy with kind acts of service. Therefore when we set aside to suffer, when we are sick, when we are consumed with pain, and when all our activities have been stopped, we feel we are no longer of any use and are accomplishing nothing.
Yes if we will be patient and submissive, it is almost certain we will be a greater blessing to the world around us during our time of suffering and pain than we were when we thought we were doing our greatest work. Then we are burning, and shinning brightly as a result of the fire. The glory of tomorrow is rooted in the drudgery of today.
Many people want the glory without the cross, and the shinning light without the burning fire, but crucifixion comes before coronation.
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