Last year we had bought a hibiscus. When the growing season came to a close, there was some debate over how best to winter it. It ended up sitting in the garage for a couple of months, then it dried, withered, and wasted away. Finally, it got carried out back, dumped in the bushes, and forgotten, another victim of lack of proper care. Much to my surprise, around the first of June I noticed some new growth on the stalk, pitiful though it was. So, with nothing really to lose, I pulled it out of the bushes and set it on the corner of the garden where, if nothing else, it was get watered regularly. Lo and behold, 2 months later with it fully abloom, there are no signs at all that it had once been left for dead. I think it is safe to say that this little plant’s ability to survive—and thrive—had been grossly underestimated.
This is about the forgotten flowers in Christ: how many of them have been underestimated by us? We think of those precious blooms, young and old, that we might have watched fall away, pedal by pedal, leaf by leaf, until they were out of sight, and all too often out of mind. Occasionally we might recall their former beauty and glory in Christ, but by and large they end up forgotten.
Jude wrote, “And on some have compassion, making a distinction; but others save with fear, pulling them out of the fire, hating even the garment defiled by the flesh” (Jude 1:22-23, NKJV). Jude, in essence, was saying, “Don’t underestimate those flowers!” Don’t underestimate the power of God’s love, His grace, and His mercy when it comes to reviving those blooms. But Jude rightfully points on in verse 23 that they must be in the right environment. If the flowers stay out in the bushes, they’re not going to survive. If the precious blossoms of the souls of saints stay in the fire, they’re not going to survive. Help them out of the defiled garments and into the light of the Son of God. Give them a chance.
We should not let our underestimation end in destruction. This is true of ourselves, of our families, of our neighbors, and even of our enemies. God has given immeasurable power unto salvation through the gospel: let’s spread that gospel. Let us ensure that we have the proper environment, then let us bring the flowers in, nurturing and loving them, and then watch them flourish.