A Story of Self Sacrifice…Little Rose of Sharon

“Surely the Creator will be pleased with my beautiful petals,” she thought happily. Then the Creator stood before her. For a long time, He looked down at her deep red petals and smiled. Before He turned to go, He bent down and breathed her sweet smell.”

Sometimes the most touching stories come in a simple tale for children. I bought this book by Nan Gurley several years ago while I was on a trip in Florida. I walked into the discount Christian bookstore and stumbled out with bags full of books.

I had every intention of giving this to my daughter, and I did…but it stays on my bookshelf because the truth is, God meant for me to have it more. It was what I needed at the time. He’s good about that…directing me to books to share a truth, confirm a promise, remind me of something He shared with me in our secret place or to teach me a new lesson about myself that requires change.

He did it all in this book that I simply cannot read without tearing up. It’s about a glorious rose who loves to have the Creator walk through the beauty He’s created, to stop and be pleased with her. She desperately wants His approval, and she believes it’s her beauty that brings His love for her.

A raging storm comes one night, and with all her strength she hangs on to her petals for fear she won’t be beautiful without them. It’s what makes her a rose. When the storm lets up and morning comes, she’s accomplished her goal. All her petals are still in tact. But then she hears the doves mourning. They fly around in desperate fear, and she realizes the wind has blown the doves’ egg onto the ground and they don’t see it.

The rose has to make a choice: Keep the one thing she thinks makes her loved or let it all go to save the dove’s egg. One by one, the rose lets her petals fall onto the tiny dove’s egg to keep it warm, but she’s left only a stem.

The egg hatches and the doves find their new baby. But it’s come at a cost for the rose.

 One afternoon, she hears the Creator coming in the distance, “Oh, dear,” she thought, “I hope He doesn’t notice me. Without my petals I am no longer beautiful.” The little rose was so ashamed, she looked down.”

But God did notice her. And He noticed her sacrifice.

“You have given all you had to save the life of the baby dove,” said the Creator. The little rose felt warm inside at the sound of His voice. “One day when my Son lives on this earth, He too will give everything He has.” The little rose looked up into the gentle eyes of the Creator. “Because of the love you have shown for the baby dove, I will call My Son the Rose of Sharon, for He too will give everything He has and show the world My love.”

She had misunderstood what God was smelling as a sweet fragrance. It wasn’t her petals, though they were beautiful. What He was taking in and enjoying was her heart.

You’re beautiful to God. What makes you beautiful has nothing to do with your appearance. It’s the love you show to others. It’s your selflessness.

We tend to think our talents and gifts are what make us special to God, when we use them for His glory, and yes those things are beautiful. He enjoys us using our gifts and talents for Him. It’s a sweet aroma, but what moves Him the most is when we give simply…ourselves. A surrendered heart, a sacrificial heart.

What children’s book have you read that touched you or taught you a valuable truth?

Nan Gurley