No Walk In The Rose Garden
Updated: Sep 18, 2019
In 1970, Lynn Anderson released a cross over song entitled, "Rose Garden." This song has been done and re-done at various points and by various artists, but of all of them, this is probably my favorite rendition.
Yet some of you may be wondering what that has to do with anything. Why should you care, and why would I bring it up? Well, the answer is simple, because this song does in fact speak directly into our Christian walk.
You see, many Christians today, particularly those who practice an emotive brand of Christianity, feel that there is a need for God to make everything right in their lives. They expect God to override people's free will and circumstances and to make everything right for them. They say things like, I'm doing everything that I should, so why do bad things happen to me. As if Christianity is some kind of transaction. I put in what I think God wants, and in return, God gives back blessings and a perfect life.
No, it doesn't work like that at all.
You see God never promised us a rose garden. In fact, He said quite the opposite. Matthew 8 tells us, "18 Now when Jesus saw a crowd around Him, He gave orders to depart to the other side of the sea. 19 Then a scribe came and said to Him, 'Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.' 20 Jesus *said to him, 'The foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.' 21 Another of the disciples said to Him, “Lord, permit me first to go and bury my father.' 22 But Jesus said to him, “Follow Me, and allow the dead to bury their own dead.”
In John 16:33 Jesus makes an even more direct point when he says, "These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world."
Yet, so many believers today have this belief that somehow, if they do all the "right things," that God is going to bless them with Earthly comfort and material blessings. The problem is, He's not, and He's said as much.
You see God's focus isn't on our time on Earth. It's on how He can get us from our time on Earth to an eternity with Him. Sometimes that requires some challenges and growth opportunities that cause us to grow, and sometimes it requires a harsh correction to show that our behavior is growing away from Him and who He wants us to be. Sometimes, he even has to allow big and cataclysmic events (He doesn't author them, but the free will of man does) to attempt to get the attention of the world who is charging headlong away from Him and His ways.
The second verse of the song says:
"You better look before you leap, still waters run deep And there won't always be someone there to pull you out And you know what I'm talking about."
That in fact lines up with scripture where Christ is talking in Luke 14:25-34 about counting the cost. We often encourage people to "pray the sinners prayer," but few if any of us encourage people to "count the cost," to see whether they will be able or willing to finish it.
Are you willing to walk this through to completion? Are you willing to remain faithful even if it's not a walk in a rose garden? If the storms of life come at you and test you and force you to rely on God, are you willing to? Is your faith real in both good and bad times, or are you just a sunshine Christian who only wants to walk among the roses?
Let us always remember, even with roses, there are thorns.