The Holy Spirit is the one who gives life.” ~ John 6:63

Maybe it’s me, but don’t the roses look especially beautiful this year? I have multiple roses in my garden, in a variety of colors and species, but there is one that is my absolute favorite. Let me tell you why this little beauty means so much to me.

A little over 10 years ago, my father, with whom I am very close, became very sick with a declining heart condition. It just happened to be around Valentine’s Day and my husband bought me a miniature rosebush. He said, “I hope this will help cheer you up with regards to your dad.” It was beautiful! I looked forward to planting it outside during the springtime.

In the early summer of the same year, my dad’s condition rapidly declined. He was taken to the hospital and given little hope of survival. His organs were slowly shutting down. The doctor informed us of a radical procedure they could do (placing a heart pump to assist my father’s diseased heart) but he would need to be physically stronger to even consider the surgery.

After hearing the grim news, I returned home and, in an effort to clear my mind, I began cleaning my house that was in great need of some attention. It was then that I realized I had actually neglected the rosebush my husband had given to me, to the point of total and complete death. I mean it was dead! The ground in the pot was hard. The branches brittle and there was not a leaf or bud to be found. How pathetic! This rosebush was given to me to cheer me up about my dad. I felt guilty that I hadn’t taken better care of this sentimental gift, and it made me even more sad now that my dad was lingering in his “final days.”

As I was about to toss the dead plant into the trash, as clear as could be, I felt the still small voice of the Holy Spirit whisper to me, “Go plant the rose bush in your garden and speak life over it.”

I knew I had been sleep-deprived and I thought that this was clearly a sign that I needed a hot shower and a good night’s sleep! Plus, I would feel like a complete fool to plant a bunch of dead branches in my flower garden, and yet that impression only got only stronger. So, I did what I only knew to do; I got my shovel and took that dead plant to the garden. The impression continued, “Place it in the front of your garden, the best place!”

“OK, a dead bush in the front, got it.” I thought. And that is what I did. I dug a hole, looked over my shoulder to make sure my neighbor wasn’t looking, and planted the thing in the ground. I watered it for good measure, and then I prayed as I was instructed. “Lord, I pray that you would bring life into this dead plant, as only You can do. Amen.”

As I was putting away the shovel, the impression continued, “Now, go pray the same thing for your dad.”

I got showered, hopped in the car, drove to the hospital and found my dad in very poor condition. I closed the door, laid my hands on his chest and said, “Lord, I ask you to bring life back into my dad’s body. Restore his organs. Restore his life, as only You can do. Amen.”

One week went by and my husband and I were having coffee on our front porch. We often enjoyed time together before our day gets started to talk and pray about the concerns and joys of our life. Of course, my dad’s health was number one on my prayer list. We were holding hands and praying. Just as Dan was praying for my dad’s healing, he whispered “Linda, look!”

I opened my eyes and sitting on Dan’s chest was a beautiful butterfly, the Christian symbol for “new life.” It stayed for several minutes. Is it a sign? Will my dad get better?

And then a miracle happened. I noticed that the very bottom of my dead rosebush had a very small amount of green. I scream, “Look, it’s green! It’s not dead!”

New life had begun. Dan and I looked at each other in amazement, as I guess you do, when you know you have just experienced the miraculous. It was at that moment that I just knew that my dad’s life was not over.

Amazingly, my father began getting stronger, strong enough that the doctors were able to do the radical surgery and place a heart pump in his heart. Forty-five days later, I drove him home from the hospital.

Several years after my dad’s amazing recovery, we celebrated my parent’s 60th wedding anniversary. My rosebush flourished so well that I cut roses from that rosebush, and made my mom a corsage and my dad a boutonniere for their party. They wore them proudly.

This month, on June 10, we celebrate the 10-year anniversary of the successful surgery and new life that has been given to my father.

Through this experience, I have come to learn, in a deeper way, that no matter how bad a circumstance may seem, God has the final say. And many times, He asks us to pray and speak life over situations and circumstances that in our own minds we feel are hopeless.

Let me ask you this, what looks dead in your life? Maybe it’s a relationship, or you have lost hope for your future. Possibly you, too, have been given a poor diagnosis. Whatever your circumstance may be, no matter how hopeless you may feel, I encourage you to look to the Author of Life and get His plan. And then, pray and believe. Watch what He will do. He has the final say over all that we face. Could it be that he will also bring life to that which is dying in your life?

Today, that rosebush has more roses than ever. I am glad I planted it in the front of my garden, because it’s exactly where it deserves to be.

Linda Summers is the pastor for Trinity Christian Fellowship in Biglerville. If you would like to contact Linda, you may reach her at lmsummers7@gmail.com.

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