“Thorns have roses.”
Just like the TV game show Jeopardy, I’ve given you the answer. Now it’s your turn to come up with the question. Would you include any of these?
- What is a rose bush?
- What protects a rose?
- What is a prickle?
- Why should we rejoice?
According to Abraham Lincoln, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses,” so the correct choice is number four.
If you’ve ever complained when things got tough or did not go your way, you’re in good company with a host of others – including me. Nevertheless, the adage holds truth.
On the surface, the moral appears to be a reminder to turn your view of life’s tragedies to see another perspective, perhaps one with a more positive side. Yet if you think about it a little longer, you may come up with a deeper understanding as you stretch your thoughts to embrace this attitude. If we look at God’s creation, we can often find answers to life’s questions, and the rose offers a few that might make a world of difference.
Did you know florists categorize the rose as the most popular flower? Its popularity stems not only from its delicate composition and fragrance but more often because it communicates a deeper message beyond what words can express. It conveys thoughts of love and deep caring. It inspires hope, demonstrates appreciation and celebrates a full range of life’s triumphs.
If you’re at all like me, I prefer the more comfortable side of life, one without the difficult hardships and trials. I know they’re part of life, but if I can avoid some along the way, all the better. Yet even creation provides an illustration through the rose. This bush rarely blooms. Most of the year, it is barren sporting branches and thorns. The leaves and blossoms come as a reward for enduring the seasons, elements and a host of foraging predators.
By the way, these thorns we so often complain about aren’t really thorns at all. According to horticulturalists, thorns come from branch tissue that has become hard, woody in texture and pointed. Technically, the rose actually produces superficial spine-like outgrowths from its stem called prickles. Regardless, these sharp protrusions are an annoyance to gardeners and those who enjoy the beauty of these flowers.
The prickles actually serve a greater purpose. They act as a deterrent against predators that would consume the plant before the buds can produce their precious pollen. Interestingly, the bees and other insects are not impacted by the thorns, and so they continue on their mission that both directly and indirectly benefits other flora and fauna, including humans.
Without these troublesome prickles, the likelihood of the rose surviving long enough to produce flowers at all is slim. Without them, there’d be no beauty to enjoy.
As I look through the rearview mirror of my life, I can see the trials I’ve encountered have made me stronger, though I must confess I did not always enjoy the process. Yet God used them to protect me and develop a deeper walk with Him. Without them, I’d not have known the beauty of His character and the fragrance of His unconditional love.
Thorn bushes do have roses, and I, for one, am going to try to do better at rejoicing.