A carefully picked bouquet of dandelions was handed to me by one of my students. To her dismay, an unappreciative boy pointed out that dandelions are actually nothing but a bitter weed. The little girl was crushed. The bouquet she worked so hard to create and was so proud to present to her teacher was suddenly nothing but a bunch of weeds. I quickly pointed out to the class that there are many weeds that produce pretty flowers. As bitter as a dandelion may be, it still has a certain beauty to offer.
A little research revealed that dandelions have many good qualities. Although bitter-tasting, they are surprisingly nutritious containing calcium, iron, vitamins B and C, just to name a few. Dandelions also have medicinal uses. They are such a great diuretic that children sometimes wet the bed after playing with them. Who would have thought that bed wetting could be caused by playing with dandelions! The milk from the stem helps repel mosquitoes and cure warts. Herbalists recommend dandelions for problems with gall bladder, pancreas, and kidneys. So, what many consider as a pesky weed on their lawn, actually has many beneficial qualities.
Attitudes can sometimes resemble dandelions. Maybe they seem attractive initially, but upon tasting we find they are bitter. Then there are those who come across as bitter and harsh, but as we get to know them we see all the good qualities they have to offer. Psalms 73:21 says, “Then I realized how bitter I had become, how pained I had been by all I had seen.” Times of struggle may temporarily change our view of life from one of beauty to one of bitterness and pain. It may be such a slow process that, like the psalmist, we suddenly realize our attitudes have shifted from joy to bitterness. The Psalmist goes on to say in verse 23, “Yet I still belong to you; you are holding my right hand.” How amazing that even when I am so bitter I don’t even like myself, I am still a child of God. He does not give up and toss me away like a wilted dandelion. Instead He continues to hold my hand and guide me through the bitter attitude and the circumstances that caused it.
Like my bouquet, our situation depends on our perspective. We may have become bitter from the physical or emotional pain we have suffered, but the beauty is that we still belong to God. He sees all the good qualities that He has instilled in us and the potential that we have. After all, “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”(Ephesians 2:10). Regardless of how bitter we become, He created us for good, and He has prepared us to accomplish that good. God constantly holds us in His hand like a beautiful bouquet, bitterness and all, and He continues to loves us through it.
Whatever is causing bitterness in your life, ask God to reveal the beauty and restore your joy today.
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