Forthright Magazine


As the daylilies and black-eyed Susans take the spotlight in the summer garden, my favorite flowers are all but lost within the swaths of bright yellow and crimson. Their tidy sword-like leaves rise unobtrusively among the summer beauties, but I haven’t forgotten the irises! This is the time to begin planning their encore performance for next spring.

It is done by division. Irises need to be separated from one another to do well. The stronger varieties would overtake the weaker rhizomes, and the gardener who began with a nice collection will find herself with only one or two colors. Separation is vital and actually productive. They also need to be separated even within their own separate clumps, as a way to propagate more, and give them room to thrive.

As we consider the great sacrifice of Jesus as he went to the cross, we often focus on the physical pain He endured for our sake. The coming pain was so great He prayed earnestly to avoid it.

 “O My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as You will.” Matthew 26:39b, NKJV). 

That prayer was answered with a “No.” But is that really what our dear Lord was in anguish pleading to avoid? 

The true pain, the true agony, was really something far worse than the brutal and horrific torture and death He was about to experience. It is impossible for us as mortals to comprehend the pain that caused him to cry out, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46b.)

Remember, up until the shameful and horrific crucifixion, Jesus was one with the Father and the Holy Spirit. He had up until that horrible, beautiful day never been separated from God the Father.

If we, in our finite minds, can consider what that meant to our Savior, we can grasp just a tiny bit what it would be like to spend an eternity truly separated from God. Jesus knew. This is why He went to the cross for us, to avoid that separation.

Some may remember the old stereotype of little cartoon demons jabbing us with tiny pitchforks in “the bad place,” and we may even have that idea stamped into our subconscious. We don’t know what the afterlife will be like, for sure. 

But consider the idea of being separated from God, even though we don’t have the same Father/Son relationship that our Lord has. We don’t realize how close God is to us day by day, in and around us.

The apostle Paul explained it to the Gentiles this way; 

“…They should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring’” (Acts 17:27, 28).

Separation from everything that is good and holy and just is going to be very painful, whether we respect that fact in this life or not.

I do hate separating the rhizomes of the irises, breaking apart the healthy roots and causing wounds to the fleshy part of the rhizome. But it must be done.

Jesus did not want to be torn from the Father in the agonizing crucifixion, where our holy God could not look upon the sacrificial Lamb bearing the sins of the whole world. But the separation happened, it HAD TO happen, so that we are not separated eternally from God.

This is why we can now bloom more abundantly and make disciples. Hallelujah!


Christine Berglund
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