The beauty of the lotus flower. So bold. There in the midst of pond water, a pop of color. Unashamed. Holding its own. Uninhibited to let its magnificence shine.
The lotus flower is an ancient symbol of creation and rebirth. It is also a symbol of the sun. Its pure spotless petals close and sink underneath the horizon of muddy pond water at dusk. Into the murk of the pond it descends where creatures of the night loom. With the sun’s ascension to light up the day, the lotus also crests the pond surface. It emerges spotless and breathtakingly beautiful, no trace of the filth it burst forth from.
I’ve been in the depths of ugly pond water. Nothing clear, I cannot see. Everything a blur, I surrender sight and close my eyes. I continue the struggle, flailing, waving my arms and kicking my legs, trying to reach the surface before running out of breath. I fear. I sense the presence of the vicious snake who is perpetually prepared for his next attack on my self-esteem. I imagine the worst. I contemplate giving up. I cry out to God, “Save me! Deliver me! I beg you to get me out of this dark and terrifying place!” I just cannot fathom why He seems nowhere near. Death and destruction seem imminent. Does He care? Does He want to help me? My mind spins, beginning to travel down the path of self-destruction. And I feel blind and alone.
I wonder if any of those same thoughts crossed Jesus’s mind when He cried out to God as He hung on the cross. The beating, the flogging, the abuse, the pain his body suffered. It’s hard to imagine any human not feeling forsaken. It’s also hard to imagine how anything beautiful could come from such a filthy and disgustingly dark display of humanity.
It is in our times of deepest desperation, under the horizon in muddy, yucky, “get me out of here” waters, where our richest times of growth occur. We simply cannot blossom to our magnificent potential without suffering. Jesus says this so many times throughout Scripture and painfully modeled it himself. We are not called into a life of serene waters, clear for the sailing, safe for the drinking. We are called into a life of being poor in spirit where there is mourning, persecution, pain, depression, illness, confusion and doubt.
But that is not where the story ends…
Our roots are embedded far beneath the surface of the water, much like the lotus. The stretching, straining and seeking forces strength to our roots. Our stalks then becomes firmly grounded and protected from those who intend to steal us, yank us from our power source or destroy us. Our source is God, unshakable and all-powerful God. Our times under the deep dark water draw us into Him.
God never ceases to amaze. He called Jesus to rise from death, the most daunting of all of the mud, muck, grit and grime pond water trials on this earth. Jesus rose from the darkest place possible to the most glorious. He invites us to do the same. We are His lotus flowers emerging beautiful from those places most feared and trial ridden. His most glorious are those places of pure JOY that can only be realized in a life fully devoted to His purposes and plans for our lives, those places rooted in His word, His foundations and His truths. No fear, instead trust. No sadness, instead peace. No condemnation, instead freedom. No pain, instead comfort.
We are strengthened by God’s Holy Word, slowly and surely, one little day at a time, until our marvelously unique blooms reach completion and beam magnificence, reflecting the light of His SON. Be encouraged if you are feeling underneath the surface of the pond. Look up. Believe that you, too, are on your way to emerging beautifully.
“For God has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Colossians 13:1)