Dead Flowers (10/24/13)

I was getting ready for my daughter's wedding which was taking place in a
church about forty miles away.
 
My son, Jack, said he would walk his younger sister down the aisle, taking
the place of their dad who had died a few years before.
 
To save money, I gathered blossoms from several friends who had large
magnolia trees. They would make beautiful arrangements against the rich
dark wood inside the church.
 
The big day arrived - her fiancé ,Tim , drove  me to the church to check
the sanctuary and do a final check. When we opened the door and felt a rush
of hot air, I almost fainted; and then I saw them - all the beautiful white
flowers were black.  An electrical storm during the night had knocked out
the air conditioning, and on that hot summer day, the flowers had wilted
and died, turning black!
 
Knowing I didn't have time to drive back to our hometown, gather more
flowers, and return for the wedding, and I didn't have money to buy flowers
from the town florist, I panicked! 
 
Alone in the large sanctuary, I looked up and prayed:  'Lord, please help
me. I don't know anyone in this town. Help me find someone willing to give
me flowers!' 
 
As I left the church in my future son-in-law's car,  I saw magnolia trees
in the distance. I approached the
house and knocked on the door. An older man answered.
When I stated my plea the man beamed and said... 'I'd be happy to!'
 
He climbed a stepladder and cut large boughs and handed them down to me.
Minutes later, as I lifted the last armload into my car trunk, I said,
'Sir, you've made the mother of a bride happy today.'
 
'No' he said. 'You don't understand what's happening here.
 
You see, my wife of sixty-seven years died on Monday. On Tuesday I
received friends at the funeral home, and on Wednesday, she was buried.
 On Thursday my out-of-town relatives went back home, and on Friday,
my children left.
 
'This morning,' he continued, 'I was sitting in my den crying out loud.   I
cried:  Who needs an eighty-six-year-old wore-out man? Nobody!
About that time, you knocked, and said, 'Sir, I need you!"
 
He smiled. 'Do you know what I was thinking when I handed you those
magnolias?'
'No.' I said.
 
'I decided I'm needed. My flowers are needed. I could give them to
everyone! Some caskets at the funeral home have no flowers.  I can give
them to hospitals, churches - all sorts of places. You know what I'm going
to do? I'm going to serve the Lord until the day He calls me home by giving
these magnolias!'
 
I drove back to the church, filled with wonder. On Patsy's wedding day, if
anyone had asked me to encourage someone who was hurting, I would have
said, 'Forget it!  There is no way I can minister to anyone today.'
 
But God found a way. Through dead flowers.