Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tulips and Daffodils

“Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups(Jews and Gentiles) to God by means of his death, and our hostility toward each other was put to death.” Ephesians. 2: 16

 The check out lady in the grocery store asked me, “Are you thinking of putting the daffodils and tulips in the same vase?” “Yes” I replied. She informed me that I shouldn’t do that because the daffodils would kill the tulips. Well, I’ll be! Sounds just like putting certain people together. How sad that two beautiful flowers have to be separated. I didn't know if that was actually true but I didn’t want to find out. I left the store with just the tulips.

Yesterday we were visiting an Afghan couple who are from the Hazara tribe. Hussein lost nearly his entire family at the hands of Pashtun Taliban fighters. He nearly lost his own life, too. Ten years later his physical scars from eleven surgeries have healed but not his raw emotions of hatred and revenge. He is in shell shock making it hard to move ahead. He is waiting for the day when he can return and make accounts equal. It would be disastrous to put Hussein and Pashtuns in the same room.

It had not even been one hour together with a new Somali contact when she described to me how one day she saw two men meet each other on the street in Somalia. When it was declared which tribe each was from the one man instantly shot the other man dead. You can’t put tulips and daffodils together in the same vase.

A Shia husband and a Sunni wife, along with their six children, took sanctuary for over one year in a church until our country gave them permission to stay. They had crossed the border and stayed on illegally. It was like house arrest but better than being killed or deported. We visited them a few times in their make-shift church home. Their families were not pleased their children married each other against their wishes. They would probably not survive if they went back to their country. You can’t put daffodils and tulips together in the same vase.

Certain husbands and wives. Certain parents and children. This tribe and that tribe. This religion and that religion. Wine drinkers and abstainers. Pork eaters and chicken eaters. This language and that language. High caste and low caste. Jews and Arabs. Zionists and Palestinians. And the list goes on…..You can’t put daffodils and tulips in the same vase.

Well, not unless there’s a reconciler. Both are beautiful. But together they can be a threat to each other or to someone else. God has given us the ministry of reconciliation so that the threat is removed. How wonderful that our Savior, Jesus Christ, has made reconciliation possible at the cross. Hallelujah! By the shed blood of Jesus on the cross it is possible to have “tulips and daffodils” together in the same vase. They really do look more beautiful as a bouquet than in separate vases.

Dear heavenly Father, please make Your ministry of reconciliation through me fruitful and successful. It’s so hard to walk through this ministry. In Jesus’ name, Amen.