Bursting yellow blooms arriving to edge out winter’s brown landscape have, since childhood, made me happy. Each year, if forecasters predict a late winter dusting of snow, I worry over the green stalks whose eager beginnings have already peaked an inch above the soil. And each year, during the weeks when their breathtaking yellow sways in early spring breezes, I remember snippets of long-ago memorized Wordsworth. “My heart with pleasure fills, and dances with the daffodils.” Each year though, when spring marches on, I feel sad as the beauty of my favorite spring flower begins to fade away. The daffodil’s bloom season seems much too short-lived.
But there’s a gift given when the vibrant, happy-faced yellow gives way to withering brown. God’s gift to us in the drying up is this: we’re reminded with each passing day, as the tinge of brown at the edges of lovely petals grows, that as lovely as they are, they are the fruit of perishable seed. We’re reminded to hold on to — to cling only to — the Imperishable.
Peter takes the words of Isaiah 40: 6-8 and calls our minds to think on this truth.
“… you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God; for
‘All flesh is like grass and all its glory like the flower of grass.
The grass withers, and the flower falls,
but the word of the Lord remains forever.’
And this word is the good news that was preached to you.”
I Peter 1:23-25
So, today as I mourn the fading of temporarily glorious daffodils, I don’t want to only mourn. I want to also marvel in ways that strengthen my faith. I want to marvel at the good news Peter speaks of: that even though my physical body fails as the flower, God has planned an imperishable life for those who have been born again. And I want to remember that that life comes only through the imperishable, living and abiding word of God.
As I drink in the beauty of the last days of this year’s daffodils, I want to be transformed by this truth:
Man, in his utmost flourish and glory, is still a withering, fading, dying creature … Take him in all his glory, even this is as the flower of grass; his wit, beauty, strength, vigour, wealth, honour — these are but as the flower of grass, which soon withers and dies away. The only way to render this perishing creature solid and incorruptible is for him to entertain and receive the word of God; for this remains everlasting truth, and, if received, will preserve him to everlasting life, and abide with him for ever. (Matthew Henry’s Commentary, Vol. VI, Acts to Revelation, MacDonald Publishing Company, p. 1013)
Thank you, Father, for bright yellow flowers waving in the breezes of early spring.
Thank you that when we see them begin to perish — just as we see our own glorious bodies begin to fail — we are reminded to yearn for You alone. To long for You, the Imperishable One, who gives imperishable life through your living, never failing Word.