Updated: May 10, 2020
(Today I write with great appreciation and love for two wonderful women in my life. Janice Norris my mother sowed the seed of the gospel in me. Blanche Norris my bride walked into my life 29 years later after Mom gave birth to me. Her witness of Christ led to me being born again. Her love sustains me).
And now I write.
In Northeast Illinois, Spring is in full bloom. Finally, we begin to have days where the warmth of the sun gives you hope of outdoor living. Walks are more and more frequent, I'm grilling again and splurging somewhat for Mother's Day tomorrow. There is an uplift in my spirit as Chicagoland moves from its dreary gray overcast winters into brilliant blues with Gandalf the White cloud colorings. Despite Covid19, things are brighter all around.
Bring it on, dear Lord.
Last week on a family walk, my almost 17-year-old daughter asked a question of her mother. It is a simple question of which I haven't let go. 'Mom, why do some homes have dandelions and others do not?' Of course, I should be able to remember the answer her Mom gave but ...well I'm a man. As soon as I heard the question, I turned to my own thoughts of the dandelion.
People treat the dandelion in my part of the world as a weed. Botanists actually see it as a flowering plant. Whatever you think of it, it IS invasive. As I write I am looking out my window and can see an empty lot where seeds of dandelion are soon to be flying everywhere. At my house, we rid ourselves of them because we choose green grass as the preferred look. When I was a teenager I got the lovely chore of ridding the yard of them by hand. Thanks, Dad. Hated it. When I began a family I decided I wouldn't make my kids waste their lives on removing yellow flowers year after year. That remained my job. These days I spend the money on a company to take care of it. It's one of the few things I pay others to do.
As my daughter observed in my neighborhood, some people get rid of them all, some people live with a few while others could give a hoot and seem to enjoy yellow over green. Or they prefer green ($) over keeping up with the Jones's.
I confess upon close examination that at times there is more yellow (sin) than green (righteousness) in my own life. Sin can creep in and suddenly my soul seems highlighted with yellow.
Being open and transparent here. I am amazingly blessed. I have a great family. A spectacular wife and three kids I love dearly who love me back. The good Lord allowed me access to a strong college education without a penny of debt. I have been steadily employed since I left college in 1982, not once missing a paycheck. I am most blessed that the Lord reached from the heavens and pulled me to His Son 25 years ago in His eternal act of Saving Grace.
ln the same lifespan, I have also walked in sorrow. Broken relationships, lost friendships, the sudden death of my father, and now a mother caught in the grips of Alzheimer's to name just a few events. I've watched my beautiful Blanche lose her mother, father and 58-year-old sister to cancer. Painful to watch. Disgusting to think about.
Why God oh why is this world filled with so many weeds?
Yet I blame God for nothing and give humble thanks to Him for the blessings.
Thank you, Lord, for your grace and mercies upon me and upon us.
And I think of the dandelions. One would think that if you were blessed for all 60 years of your life by the God of the Universe then you yourself would be as the greenest of greens inside your soul. That you would soak in His Brilliant Glory continuously.
Greenest of greens? Not a chance.
The Yellow weeds of life appear in me not just in the Spring but in all the seasons of life. The more I read the Bible and the closer I get to Jehovah, the brighter the Yellow shines in me. I can see it, the sin. Like the sun, my sin is blinding. Be careful not to look directly at it. It's not that's there's more of it; it's rather the Yellow (sin) seems brighter the 'stronger' my walk with the Lord Jesus becomes. Quite the juxtaposition.
All ladies reading this will find this impossible to believe but just two nights ago in my brilliant pure self-serving style, I offended my wife with the words that came out of my mouth. Not once, but twice. (I just reworded it the second time). I should've looked in the mirror to see if my tongue was yellow. Humor can hurt, that's the sin lesson here.
[Jas 3:8 ESV] 8 but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
Could someone send over the company that de-weeds my spirit?
I'd pay anything for that service.
Apostle Paul wrote to this very notion in Romans as he addressed the Church there.
[Rom 3:9-15, 17-25 ESV]
9 ... For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, 10 as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one; 11 no one understands; no one seeks for God. 12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one." 13 "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips." 14 "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness." 15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood; ... 17 and the way of peace they have not known." 18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes." 19 Now we know that whatever the law says it speaks to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world may be held accountable to God. 20 For by works of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it-- 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.
Let us review what Paul is saying.
V9 None is righteous, no, not one.
Dandelion Paraphrase V9: None is the greenest of greens, no, not one.
V 23 For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.
Dandelion Paraphrase V23: Yellow weeds rise up and need to be weeded daily IN ALL OF US.
V24-25 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.
Dandelion Paraphrase V24-25: There is no need to pay a price for the Yellow weeds of your sin, for this is the Gospel. The best news and the greenest of all greens for your life is that Jesus has paid for the de-weeding service already and eternally. Reach for Christ and be healed.
To all: On this Mother's Day weekend 2020, in a time of pandemic and localized dandelions, I urge you to take time to do two things.
1) Give thanks to God for the blessings He has poured on you while remembering Mom.
2) Stop trying to de-weed your soul with self-help approaches. Jesus Christ IS the answer.