Spring is inching its way into our neighborhood. After a winter that’s lasted too long, the forsythia, daffodils and blue-bells are a treat. Ground covers are blooming, and once in a while we stay above the 30’s overnight.
This morning as Jack and I started our walk, the strangest thing happened. Half-a-block from home we saw a sad-looking daffodil lying on the road, dusted with dirt. The stem had been neatly cut at an angle, but there it lay without explanation.
I stepped over it, and we continued on. Fifty yards further we saw another one… and another… and finally several. The only possibility I could imagine was a woman setting her flower vase on the car roof for a minute, then forgetting it was there as she drove away.
Jack and I pursued our walk, but at the farthest point from home, it began to pour. We picked up the pace, and I thought of the mysterious daffodils now lying in the mud. Deciding to rescue them, we walked past the house, retracing our steps to retrieve the flowers.
Mentally creating an Easter bouquet, I also snapped a piece of evergreen growing near the road to frame the daffodils. After gently swishing everything in a bowl of water and putting them in a crystal vase, they were an eye-catching display.
Tonight as I studied my pretty bouquet, God brought an old memory to mind. Mary and I were little girls and Mom was teaching us to sew. “We’ll make sachets for your drawers,” she said. “Your underwear will smell fresh, just like the outdoors!”
She took us out and directed us to the same type of evergreen I’d put with my daffodils this morning. “Pick this kind,” she’d said. “It smells best.” She’d pinched a small sprig between her fingers, putting it under our noses to prove her point.
We stripped our branches until all we had were piles of green “needles”. The room filled with a woodsy aroma, and I still have the pine sachet I made that day, sewn with a nine-year-old’s crude stitching.
Tonight God revealed an important Good Friday lesson having to do with that evergreen. In order for us to be included in heaven’s promise, Jesus needed to be crushed, much like Mom squeezed that sprig years ago to release its good scent. As excruciating as it was for the Father to turn away from his suffering Son, it was the only way we could have experienced salvation. His death became a sweet-smelling sacrifice to the Father.
As I looked in amazement at my bouquet, the Lord whispered something else. “Although you stepped over the dirty daffodils and picked them up only as an afterthought, I’ve never stepped over a dirty sinner. None of them, including you, will ever be an afterthought to me. You are front-and-center.
And that’s why I died for you.
“He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities. Christ… has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma.” (Isaiah 53:5, Ephesians 5:2)