Song of Solomon 5:13, “…His lips like lilies, dropping sweet smelling myrrh.” Love and pain. Life and death. Sweet-smelling myrrh. Our Lord redeems our every pain and transforms it into something beautiful. In one of my all-time favorite devotional books, a classic originally written by Charles Cowman called Streams in the Desert, there is a parable told about how canyons (the canyons of our pain) were formed:
One day, when the Master was out traversing the prairie, He noticed that there were no flowers.
“Where are your flowers?” He asked the prairie.
The prairie responded, “Master, I have no flower seeds.”
And so, the Master spoke to the birds, who brought flower seeds in their beaks and scattered them all over the prairie. Soon, beautiful sunflowers, wild roses, Indian paintbrush, and painted daisies sprang up everywhere.
“But, where are my favorites— the delicate violets, the clematis, the columbines and ferns?” asked the Master.
“Alas, I cannot keep them, for the sun beats down on my breast, mercilessly withering them, and the fierce winds blow them away,” sighed the prairie.
“Then the Master spoke to the lightning, and with one swift bolt, the lightning split the prairie through its heart. The prairie reeled and groaned in agony and for many days bitterly complained about its dark, jagged, and gaping wound. But the river poured its water through the chasm, bringing rich, dark soil with it.
“Once again the birds brought seeds and scattered them in the canyon. After a long time the rough rocks were adorned with soft mosses and trailing vines, and all the secluded cliffs were draped with clematis and columbine. Giant elms raised their huge limbs high into the sunlight, while at their feet small cedars and balsam firs clustered together. Everywhere violets, anemones, and maidenhair ferns grew and bloomed, until the canyon became the Master’s favorite place for rest, peace, and joy.” (Cowman, 116-117)
Dear Lord, may we understand that every pain you allow is caused to produce the wondrously sweet-smelling fruit of the Spirit in our lives. May we patiently wait for the miracle of your transformation as you conform us to the image of Christ. May our lips, too, drip with sweet smelling myrrh. Amen.