It was a wonderful graduation celebration the other week at Oceanview Care Center. The children sparkled as they sang, acted out the Christmas story, and as each one proudly received their graduation certificate.
The graduation speaker was a local artist who turned shipping containers into a wonderland of beauty, and brings such a sense of joy and warmth to the center. She described her artistic process as being birthed in prayer and asking the Lord what she should paint. Once she has the picture in her mind the creativity takes over and her hands work out the details of the masterpiece.
The first painting was of the Protea, the national flower of South Africa. This exquisite flower covers the mountainsides surrounding where we live. Our Creator God blessed this country with these brilliant plants with various hues, which speak His glory as well as bringing a message of hope.
I can see why the Holy Spirit promoted the artist to start with the Protea. Not only is it breathtaking in beauty but also resilient. Once this plant takes root it is able to withstand hurricane force winds, severe droughts, and destructive fires. It is the perfect flower to represent this country that has suffered so much pain and yet still perseveres.
I thought about the Protea and the smiling children donning bright smiles and singing out glorious praise to God. In a few months they move on from this Christ filled Kingdom Center and will face spiritual enemies seeking to uproot and destroy them. For some the battle rages in their homes or the gang infested streets where they live. Others will feel the impact transitioning from this safe and familiar space to a much bigger campus. In the natural there is little hope for these precious masterpieces of Father God.
Yet, the Protea preaches a supernatural hope for these image carries of the Divine. The One who creates us in Christ-plants us with Him on the cross- killing the curse of sin and death. He plants the seed of our soul in the fertile soil of His death and will resurrect us to His heaven filled life. Such blossoms radiant His glory.
As in the natural the Protea is a picture of hope so too is God’s Word. Over and over His Word brings us hope that “He makes all things beautiful in His time, (Ecc. 3:11). And “being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus,” (Philippians 1:6).
The graduation was a joy-filled time and there behind the singing and dancing children stood the Protea, a symbol of hope. No matter what the future may bring for these children and all who are in Christ we claim hope as The Word says:
“… rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because He has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with His love.” (Romans 5:3-5)