perfect rose

Crushing The Rose

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The story is told of a famous 19th century European conductor who was so convinced that his protégé, a young woman in her twenties, could become a diva of great renown, that he spent an inordinate amount of time helping to develop her talent.  Every concert in which she starred produced a standing room only crowd but still the conductor was not satisfied.  Something was dreadfully lacking in her performance.

She lacked passion.

In vain, he tried every way to ignite that fire within her but to no avail.  He felt she had reached a plateau above which she could never rise unless he could find a way to tap into those inner resources he was sure were there.

One night after her performance, he devised a plan certain to make her one of the leading ladies in the world of opera.  He would make her fall in love with him; then he would leave her.  In her ensuing heartbreak and sorrow, she was sure to bring to her future performances all the passion and pathos that had been heretofore lacking.

A courtship began, with the conductor showering her with affection, filling her home with expensive gifts, escorting her to some of the most fashionable gathering places of Europe to meet his friends and to help develop her self-confidence.  Increasingly, she found herself returning his attention and soon was deeply and permanently in love with her conductor.

Then, acting as he’d planned, he suddenly withdrew his love, appearing cold and inattentive toward her.  And as he’d expected, her heart was shattered as she sank quickly into a morass of loneliness and despair.  For weeks she lay across her bed, unable to keep her concert commitments, desperately wanting to die.  No doubt observers wondered how the conductor could resort to such treachery. Had he no compassion?

One day, the conductor visited her at home to persuade her to perform with his orchestra one more time.  He chose an arrangement so demanding and full of passion that it would either destroy her career or declare her instantly famous.  Drawing honestly from the innermost reaches of her broken and battered heart, she gave the best performance of her life.  The excited audience could not believe the transformation!  She had experienced first-hand every measure of sorrow and grief that the music score demanded and the music world reeled with excitement in their reviews.  She went on to become one of the most brilliant coloratura sopranos of her time.

In the same way that this soprano had to be broken and crushed to reach her full potential, church history is full of instances in which God had to first crush the rose in order to produce the sweet fragrance that He so desired and could best use.

Fanny Crosby, sightless but deeply spiritual, went on to become one of the most famous hymn writers of all time.  Over 9,000 hymns carry her distinctive signature.  Never bitter about her condition, she spent 35 years as a student and teacher at a school for the blind and was so well regarded that she played at President Grant’s funeral.  No doubt observers of her time wondered how God could commit such an arbitrary and capricious act as to render her sightless just six weeks after her birth.

It would be difficult to imagine hymnology today without Fanny Crosby’s very significant contribution.  God in His sovereignty chose to make her sightless so she could write through His eyes, without the distractions of every day life that dilute or distort His message.  Her blindness was not an accident; it was divinely ordained.

Only through the crushed rose is the awesome fragrance possible.

Renowned Christian mystic A.W. Tozer once wrote,  “To the child of God, there is no such thing as an accident;  he travels an appointed way.  The path he treads was chosen for him when he was not, when as yet he had existence only in the mind of God.  The man of true faith may live in absolute assurance that his steps are ordered by the Lord.  For him misfortune is outside the bounds of possibility.  He cannot be torn from this earth one hour ahead of the time God has appointed, and he cannot be detained on earth one moment after God is done with him here.  He is not a waif of the wide world, a foundling of time and space, but a saint of the Lord and the darling of His particular care.”


by Mariane Holbrook
http://www.marianholbrook.com

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