Prayer of Consideration: The Lilies of the Field
Jesus called on His disciples to "consider" the lilies of the field, and we should do the same.
The lily does not choose in which field it will stand. When it grows from seed or runner, it finds itself in this field, with this hard clay or soft loam. So do I find myself on a "field" - the twentieth century, America, a state, city, town, neighborhood? How much of my life world is my making; how much is God’s?
The lily has no control over what grows around it. When it shoots up, it might have to fight for its life with thorns or clumps of crabgrass. Or it might be outshone by great sunflowers. So have I very little control over what surrounds me. I live in corporate structures, in political processes. I am caught up in earning a living, buying insurance, preparing for illness and old age. I cannot change the stock market or banking practices or taxation. I cannot make the ghettos disappear, or dry up acid rain. How much of my life world is my making; how much is God’s?
The lily of the field has absolutely no control over the weather - rain or drought, it must simply stand and endure. So have I no control over nations warring on one another, or over international cartels poisoning the air with pollutants. I cannot control whether people around me drug themselves and fill the atmosphere of my life world with fear and violence. I cannot control people feeling prejudice toward me and my kind. I cannot make male chauvinism or strident feminism go away, or stop people from aborting babies or abusing their children. How much of my life world is my making; how much is God’s?
The lily came up a certain kind of lily of a certain color and shape, and its shapeliness an health depended on the spring and the summer, and whether grazing cattle let it grow. So did I come up a certain kind of person, of a certain color and shape. So were my psychic health and physical shape much influenced by the forces around me when I was coming up. And until now, all created things have let me live and even thrive, though many, many threatened and still threaten me. How much of my life growth is my making: how much is God’s?
For all that, not even Solomon dressed up in gold-embroidered brocade was any more lovely than that lily. So for all that has shaped and misshaped me, for all that has given me health and inflicted ill health on me - I am precious in the eyes of God, and honored, and God loves me as I am. Otherwise, I would not be as I am, though God would be glad were I to slough off my selfish sins. But they are trash compared to God’s creating love in me, whose love will burn them away like flakes on the bark of a flaming pine log. how much of me is mine; how much can be God’s?