Recently, while enjoying some family reunion time out of town, I returned home mid-visit to pay some bills, do some office work and enliven Shirley’s flowers with a good watering. I carefully gave a must deserved drink to her flowers, but forgot to water the hydrangea bush I bought in springtime to commemorate my Dad’s heavenly ‘home-going’ 17 years ago.
By the time I noticed its need, some of the branches were announcing its stress. The largest leaves at the end of the branches, had begun to bend over and cover the fresh new buds that were about to appear. As I looked at what had happened, I recognized the plant’s intentional efforts to use the larger, older leaves and their advanced strength to shield the new life from potential damage from the sun’s heat. These more mature leaves had bent over and exposed their more fragile underside in order to arch over and provide protection for the new life that was appearing. Some would say that the plant was ‘withering’, but actually it was protecting the weaker, more fragile life that was emerging. (If it had been withering, I suspect that all the leaves would have been curling).
While I considered the condition of the plant and noted the efforts of those protective leaves, I was reminded of a verse in Romans 15, ‘The strong ought to bear the frailty of the weak and not to please themselves’.
At once, the applicable lesson came to mind: ‘This plant and many others like it in nature do what we humans sometimes refuse to do: protect the new life that is growing inside’!
May we be a people who are willing to sacrifice ourselves, our resources or our very lives if necessary to protect the life of all little ones, especially those that are in the womb.