From the moment this rose bush produces its beautiful buds, golden yellow streaked with red, it shows promise of being a spectacularly beautiful flower.
Then stage by stage, as it grows, it opens out into a magnificent full golden rose with an outstanding perfume.
And that is exactly what the rose catalogue says this flower should be like.
This rose lives up to its name – Golden Celebration!
A David Austin rose
When I chose to buy this rose I’d been impressed when I read it was a David Austin rose.
I’d learned that any rose bearing the name of David Austin must be impressive with its colour, perfume and appearance. And this variety has all of those qualities.
It’s breeder gave this rose its name – Golden Celebration – and it certainly has grown to be what its breeder intended!
What people expect of Christians
This reminds me that people expect those of us who claim to be Christians to live like Christ did – to express the beauty of his love through the way we treat people.
They need us to show them his understanding, his kindness and to stretch out our hands to help in this hurting, afraid and bewildered world. Isn’t this what we Christians want – to be what Jesus intends each one of us to be?
From time to time God lets us catch a glimpse of his plan for our life.
It’s wonderful to know God is calling us to get to know him more intimately and also to serve him through doing a particular work in a particular place.
This is a glorious experience, but as we follow the Lord in this way, inevitably our lives will be streaked with the red of suffering in one way or another.
We all experience suffering
At some time every one of us suffers in some way or another.
I remember it was late one evening when I’d just arrived home, which was a flat in Faith Mission Headquarters, Edinburgh. Just then the doorbell went and there on the doorstep was a girl who asked if she could speak to me.
As we went upstairs to the flat she said, “I know you’ll find it hard to understand what I’m going through but I need to talk to someone.”
Then she related the situation that was wearing her out and making her feel she couldn’t go on. The tears were running down her face as she spoke.
When she finished the tears were also running down my face. I said, “I do understand what you’re going through because I’m in the same situation. My Mum is in one hospital and my Dad is in another at the opposite end of the county. I gladly do my best to give them the support they need, but I also have to take the responsibilities for my work that regularly involves travelling.
Without the Lord I couldn’t cope with this but he has never let me down.”
Step by step through to a golden celebration
We both wept before the Lord as we prayed but that evening we both felt strengthened because we knew afresh that he was with us in our circumstances and he would bring us through. And he did!
Sometimes these trying experiences come hard on the heels of each other, but if we hold onto the Lord and what he promises, he will be with us, supporting us.
Step by step he will lead us right through to the fulfilment of his plan for us – a “golden celebration” indeed!
If you would like to develop this illustration for your own presentation, the text and images are available to download. Perhaps you have some experience of your own to share, in place of Catherine’s. Or you may open up the topic for others to recount their stories.
Higher resolution versions of the images are also available for you to drop into your favourite presentation program.