When you think of pretty things, what comes to mind? I am sure you can think of lots of the beautiful creations that God has made – flowers, a vast landscape of mountains, white sandy beaches and bright blue waters of the ocean, your children…but I would be curious to know if anyone thought of a cactus?
I have really loved getting this collection together – it has given me a fresh perspective on a few things, including beauty and strength. I have come to realize, the cactus is beautiful. But I believe it’s a beauty that is rare and hard to see just by looking from afar.
Think about this with me. Cacti grow in less than ideal conditions.
Most plants need constant care and watering. (which is why I am unable to keep plants alive in my home!) Cacti grow where the sun beats down on them for the whole day and the water is scarce. So then, how do they survive? We will come back to this. First, I would like to share this excerpt from The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay, describing the cactus.
“It has humility, but it is not submissive. It grows where no other plant will grow. It does not complain when the sun bakes it or the wind tears it from the cliff or drowns it in the dry sand of the desert or when it is thirsty.
When the rain comes it stores water for the hard times to come. In good times and in bad it will still flower. It protects itself against danger, but it harasses no other plant. It adapts perfectly to almost any environment. It has patience and enjoys solitude.
The cactus has properties that heal the wounds of men and from it comes potions that can make man touch the face of God or stare into the mouth of hell.
It is the plant of patience and solitude, love and madness, ugliness and beauty, toughness and gentleness.”
Are you ready for some cactus facts? Just stay with me, it will all tie in together!
Some cacti produce delicious fruits or other edible products. Some produce beautiful flowers – that can also be used for medicinal purposes or to make perfume. I guess I never really cared or thought about the cactus as something so useful or beautiful.
I love how the most beautiful aspect you can see of the cactus is that of what it produces, beautiful flowers and fruits! It’s also interesting to me to think, how the product of the cactus is actually used for others, the cactus does not directly benefit from the beautiful things it produces. This makes me step back and evaluate what I am focusing on. How am I using my time? Are my actions showing the love of Christ to others? That’s where true beauty comes from! Am I using my talents and gifts to serve God and show love to others?
The cactus has a thick and waxy skin to keep the water from evaporating away. This skin, though, is not stiff. It will expand and contract as the water reserve grows and shrinks. The stems on the cactus help to protect itself from some animals and predators, and also help in the conservation of water.
If it weren’t for the fact of gathering and conserving water away, the cactus would never survive the harsh conditions that it has been planted in. When in need, the cactus can draw from the water that it has stored away. This fact is inspiring – and gives us such a great example of how we should be living our lives.
Do I have anything in my reserve that I am able to continually draw from as I go through life? Am I willing to be flexible and adapt to circumstances around me? Am I strong in my relationship with God or am I offended easily?
God never promised an easy and problem-free life. Less than ideal and sometimes even conditions that may seem harsh may come our way. How are we going to survive? How are we going to get through those times? Psalms 119:11 | Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You. If we have God’s truths hidden away then, like the cactus draws from the water it has stored away, we will be able to draw from His words and promises when we are in need (which, for me, is all day)!
Another verse I would like to focus this collection around is Colossians 2:7 | rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving. When our life is “rooted in Him” then the beauty will radiate from within and the strength that He gives will outlast any sort of strength we are able to muster up on our own.
So the next time you see a cactus, I hope it will remind you of how beautiful and strong you are when God is first in your life.
Let’s be cactus-y (it’s ok, I just made that a word)…beautiful and strong! Let’s live lives ROOTED IN HIM.
the Cactus Collection merch is now available – check it out over here!