These beautiful flowers are everywhere in southern California. Their vivid orange petals grow vertically and the deep blue ones horizontally, giving them a peculiar bird-like appearance. Their blooms do not appear until three to five years after planting the seeds. Florists like to use them to mark a ninth wedding anniversary, suggesting that they represent faithfulness. However, these flowers are also said to symbolize a clear perspective on life!
Today’s verse is a request to Jesus from one of the thieves hanging on a cross next to Him. Jesus promises him that because of his faith, he will be in Paradise that very day. The word, “paradise” is the Persian word for “garden.” One very important tree grows there; the tree of life (Rev. 2:7). There, in Paradise, we will live life as it was meant to be. There will be no pain, sickness or death. There will be no sin, guilt or ugliness. There will only be unending joy in His presence!
It is so hard to imagine Paradise. But one thing is sure. It will be so much better than my imagination! And thinking about Paradise gives me a clear perspective on life here and now. I can face the hard times with hope because of Paradise. I can look past the failures and dashed expectations when I think about that future place of indescribable beauty! I can even endure those painful separations when I know with certainty that one day there will be no more goodbyes.
Thank you Lord, for the promise of Paradise!