An encounter with a rose bush

By Jimmy Cochran


The rose bushes in the front yard were blooming great, even with the weird winter and spring weather. However, as will often happen, the horrid nutgrass had made a stand to conquer the bed recently and, along with it there was the dreaded “leaves of three” poking its wicked head out from underneath. So, I headed out this morning to dig up the poison ivy and dispose of it and then pull up the nutgrass thereby restoring the rose bed to the thing of beauty it can be. However, being me, things never seem to work out quite that simply.

Since the nutgrass was not near the poison ivy, I didn’t use gloves since I could get under the bushes enough to avoid the thorns. Yeah. That’s what I thought. I was able to pull up the grass on the first few, then as I leaned over, my shoes slipped on the wet grass and pine straw and my balance (which isn’t too great these days), just went haywire. I saw what was coming, but could not do a thing to avoid the rose bushes, the thorns, the poison ivy, or the crape myrtle. Finally, I ended up face down in the roses and my head was lodged in the joints of the crape myrtle.

As I begin to attempt to crawl out and up, I tried to find something to grasp, and finally noticed when I got up that I had successfully cleaned out the poison ivy with my right hand … which was still gloveless … and its tendrils were dragging along my right leg which was full of thorns, blood, dirt, and pine straw. After showering, I tried to treat most of my body and head with the always curative “Campho Phenique.” Too much space was affected for band aids, and if I tried to use gauze, I would look like a mummy, so, I’m just showing off my war wounds. Naturally, my medical-minded brother mentions all the diseases that rose thorns can produce. Thanks, bro!

My own troubles aside, I would like us to think about our daily lives. We go our merry way to work, home, shopping centers, restaurants, etc., and get along just fine. We live lives that we hope are pleasing to God, but sometimes… maybe not often … but, sometimes we start to slip a little bit. And we allow some type of sin to enter our life.

Now, this could begin a whole discussion about sin, but I’ve always felt that sin is very often attractive or else, why would we so easily want to be involved. Much like, well, a nice bed of rose bushes. But, underneath the sin is a whole myriad of ugly and harmful things. Today, I only had to experience thorns, poison ivy, and a lot of scrapes and puncture wounds. But, when it is sin, the consequences can be much worse.

Before I realized it today, I was ensnared in the pretty roses and then was harmed by the ugly things underneath, so that I could not easily get out and the results will be obvious for time yet to come. Sin will ensnare you by its attractive surface, but once it ensnares you in the ugliness underneath and inside, then it gets harder and harder to find your way out and back to right living with God. Plus, it is our responsibility as Christians to help those we see struggling in the thorns. A word of encouragement. A prayer lifted. A listening ear. You will know what to do when the time comes.

A simple, yet embarrassing, tumble into the flower bed taught me to always be on guard against sin, no matter how attractive it may be. And, that is my prayer for you.

And for today my friends, this has been the gospel according to a very sore Jimmy.

Jimmy Cochran is a resident of McDonough, a musician, a minister and the author of Being God’s and Staying God’s, both available at Being God’s is also available at Moye’s Pharmacy in McDonough.