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Believing the Flowers Will Return

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Got a letter today from the parents of a good friend of ours who’s in prison. These wonderful people have pushed through oceans of agony, bravely battled despair and grief, stumbled into a new normal, and moved forward in the healing process.

During the three years since our friend’s sentencing, they have lovingly corresponded with several inmates at the correctional facility their son now calls “home.”

Letter From An Inmate

In their letter to us today, they shared an excerpt from a hand-written note they received from an inmate named Paul. Its contents beautifully reflect the heart of God. It really encouraged and inspired me today. I hope it will do the same for you.


Flowers in Bethsaida

“Here in Missouri, during the early winter, we often set our grass on fire. We burn it all off, leaving the landscape dark and barren. We do this because the fire rids the ground of disease and enriches the soil so our lawns and fields come back even more healthy and lush than before. The ony way to do this is by first destroying it.

You can already see where I am going with this. After years of God trying to gently and lovingly treat my soil, I left Him with no choice but to burn me down. But, in doing so, He purified my soil, regenerated my roots, grew me back up as He wanted me to be. I see now that it was the only way. I am experiencing punishment, yes, but the basis for that punishment is love.

As for you and Steve, do you not look at life very differently because of this? Are your actions, words, and thoughts, not markedly different than they used to be, in some way?

More than once I questioned God’s decisions. How can anything good come from something so ugly and painful? I’m sure that at those moments He smiled lovingly and said to me, “Give it time to work.”

This is difficult for you both, of course. While you are not being “punished” in the same sense as your son and myself, you are still feeling an overwhelming sense of loss and grief. Is your witness the same now as it was a few years ago? No, it isn’t. And that is no accident.

Your grass burned, too. But, when the time is right, your hillside will be greener than ever before. It is God’s decision on when. I will close for now and get this to the mailbox. My prayers are for you and the entire family. May you be blessed in every way, and may you rejoice in wonder as the grass and flowers return.”

Burning . . . purifying . . . regenerating . . . restoring.

Even when it seems impossible, God brings beauty from ashes for those who trust Him.

Believe in the goodness of God!

“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son . . .” Romans 8:28-29

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” John 15:1-2

Psalm 30:11-12Psalm 40:1-42 Corinthians 3:17-18

Has your grass been burned in the past like mine? How have you seen God make your “hillside greener than ever before” after the burning?

If you still smell the smoke, believe the grass and flowers will return.

Blessings friends . . .


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One Comment

  1. Carey says:

    What a wonderful note… that guy is wonderful with words! I appreciate the faithful attitude expressed there. It is indeed hard to walk through the burning times, but the LORD has proven Himself faithful. As an older song says, “He’s not a minute too soon and not a moment too late.” (Sweet Comfort Band – ala 1970s-1980s)

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