Snow on Roses

 "And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" John 11:26

The sprawling country cemetery wandered over a high hill, inviting cold November winds to whisk among the stones. I parked a couple of rows over from the family plot and left the car running, waiting until the last minute to join the small group huddling around an urn. I didn't want to presume too much. Funerals are a touchy thing. Some families want to be left alone while others welcome outsiders into their grief.

Finally, I left the warmth of my car and approached the tiny gathering. I had never attended such a small service. Don, his wife Linda, their children and grandchildren, and a couple of friends were the only ones there. I hadn't told them I was coming, but when Linda saw me she threw her arms open for a hug.

Dark, bulging clouds began to spit snow while a cold blast hurled the flakes against us. Regal red roses in soft arrangements sat with stately simplicity on the icy ground beside the urn. They seemed oblivious to the setting, determined to look their best despite the surroundings. 

Plunging gloved hands deeper into the pockets of my winter coat, I marveled at the wind's ability to cut through thick layers.

Don rolled up the collar of his overcoat and opened his mother's memorial service with prayer. He tenderly spoke of her love for the Lord and her dedication to his care. He was an only child.

"Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me;" Psalm 23:4

Struggling to keep the pages of his Bible open, Don read a few scriptures that promised life eternal if we have received Christ as our Savior. He was sad, but not hopeless. "Jesus said, 'I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me will never die.'" His mother had believed those words and Don did, too. They would see each other again.

I bent my head against the wind and stared at the roses. Flakes of snow were landing softly on red petals, embellishing them with wet, white sparkles. I had never seen snow on roses before, and marveled at the splendor. Stark, ashen stones stood sentinel as far as I could see. Heavy clouds seemed to lower over the quiet service, yet snow on roses offered stunning contrast against the gray landscape. Here, in the midst of this black and white backdrop red roses gracefully allowed the snow to adorn their petals.

I have never forgotten that scene. A fifteen-minute funeral, chiseled in my heart with an eternal impression.


Snow on Roses. I want to be as beautiful as a rose-but on the inside first. I want to carry the fragrance of God's beauty in my heart, so that all who see me will view the light of His Glory reflected from the depths of my soul.

But what about hard times? The winds of change that threaten my routine? Will I allow those cold flakes to adorn me, or turn me into a stubborn, bitter spirit?

It's a choice that we all face from time to time.

As if political policies aren't enough, we each have family changes or physical challenges that threaten our routine. Will we reach for the Bible for solace? Will we choose Godly music to bolster our soul? Will we push to go to church, or will we settle further into the chair and tell ourselves that we can go next week?

These are questions we need to ask the person in our mirror. When snow hits our life, and circumstances leave us gasping against the cold blast, will we accept it as adornment, or will we reject it as a cruel interruption?

Oh Lord, I pray that when life's sudden changes hurl snow on my roses that I will choose to wear the cold crystals with trust from above.

"It is good for me to have been afflicted, that I might know how to speak a word in season to one that is weary." Charles Spurgeon


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