The Calla Lily and a Toadstool

    On my daily walks, I pass an oversized lot behind a ranch-style home. The area doesn't have a blade of grass, but there's a variety of weeds and a few fruit trees. Early this spring, I was walking my usual route and enjoying the beauty of the flowering plants and shrubs when I spotted a startling flower. That gorgeous calla lily is completely out of place in this patch of weeds, I thought as I gazed at the snow-white blossom. There wasn't a blooming plant anywhere on the property, except for this lily.

    "Lord," I said, "Christians must look as much out of place in this world as that calla lily does here."

    The contrast was so pronounced that I kept thinking about it as I strolled along. When I came to the wooded part of my walk, I glanced down and saw a huge toadstool. It was the largest one I had ever seen and had a top larger than a dinner plate. I was surprised I hadn't noticed it sooner.

    What a difference between this toadstool and the calla lily, I thought. I hope I'm more like the lily, but sometimes I feel like a toadstool especially when I have a bad attitude. I thought of numerous occasions when "toadstool" would have been an appropriate name for me.

    Some days it's a struggle to keep my attitude from being worry, frustration, or depression from whatever Satan is throwing at me. If the problem involves my children, I become even more anxious. It doesn't matter if a person is married or single, everyone has days when the present seems intolerable and the future hopeless.

    As Christians, we know our response to those around us is often the only testimony we can give. People notice how we handle difficulties and our attitude is the gauge by which they measure us. Our families are impacted by how we respond to difficult times and we set an example for our children by the way we deal with problems.

    Stress, worry, or frustration can trigger an unpleasant attitude. But the origin of a bad attitude is from not trusting the Lord. Whatever the reason for the turmoil, we should take the problem immediately to God and trust Him to show us how to handle it. It may be a situation in which there is nothing we can do but rely on the Lord to work it out. If we do this, He promises to guard our hearts and minds with peace (Philippians 3:6–7). The peace is already ours; we just have to trust that He will do what is best. When we trust Him, our hearts are calm and we can express ourselves in a manner that is pleasant and considerate.

    Consistently having an attitude that is pleasing to the Lord is a challenge for everyone. It is part of our Christian growing experience and part of our daily life. With each troubling circumstance, we need to ask the Lord to help us be who He wants us to be and to trust Him more. His answer to our concern may not be the one we prefer, but He is God and nothing happens without His permission. When we believe God can deal with even the most complex issues of our lives and the lives of those we love, our attitude will be as beautiful as the spectacular calla lily and not as unsightly as the toadstool.

By Sarah James