Bible Reading: Exodus 13: 3 - 5
Author: Jewel Deane Suddath (North Carolina, US)
Sunday 26 June 2022 © The Upper Room.

One July day at a garden centre near my home, I noticed some bedraggled rose plants with no blooms and browning leaves on sale for half price. Unable to resist a bargain, I bought two and planted them under a tree. Each week I watered them but saw little improvement. 

When winter brought snow and ice, I feared they would not survive. Months passed, and on a rainy morning I was preparing a Bible study about the Israelites’ escape from Egypt. 

As I pondered their wilderness hardships, my dog began barking at the back door. I opened it, and she leapt past me to chase a squirrel up the tree. I hurried to the tree to get her out of the rain. 

Nestled among the dead leaves on the ground, something green caught my eye. The unpromising roses had endured winter’s harsh weather and had started to put out new growth. The plants’ endurance brought me back to the Exodus story. The Israelites experienced many hardships during their journey, but God’s grace, love and forgiveness supported them through bitter days, and they survived to thrive in a new land. Like the Israelites, we experience difficult times. My roses remind me that endurance and survival are  not always easy, but that the God who travelled with the Israelites also travels with us.

Prayer: Gracious God, help us remember that during difficult times you are still walking beside us. Amen 

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