This is not the name of a cool new book I’m working on (although, now that I think about it, maybe I should use the title and run with it…NaNo 2015 anyone?). The Phoenix and the flame lily (pictured) are two significant symbols that God has used with me in my life. In a way I suppose this is very personal, but there are aspects that apply to all of us, so I’ll just leave those thoughts here.
A phoenix is, as you probably know, a mythical bird of fire which goes through cycles of death and resurrection. It dies rather violently, bursting into flames and disintegrating into a pile of ashes. But then the heat of the ashes actually makes it regenerate itself, and it is hatched in that heat, and grows up again to be a glorious, fiery bird. It not only comes back from the dead, it does so with grace and beauty. It is resilient and unendingly so. It rises from the ashes of its own death.
The flame lily is extraordinary in its own right. It looks dainty, but lilies are tough flowers that usually last a long time and can withstand quite a lot. They are fragrant and look delicate and fragile, but they are strong (it is a lie that we have to be one at the expense of the other). And the color is amazing. The petals look like actual flames blazing up from the dark green stem, and they look more like creatures than flowers.
With the help of Christ, we are all like the phoenix. Things may happen, horrible things, things that shake us to our cores and shake our faith in God and His love. But because of Christ we are resilient and we will continue to rise from the ashes, stronger and better than before.
Everything around us continually says that we have to be strong, that we can’t care or feel because then we’re open to hurt and disappointment, that we have to be like granite stones, not affected or changed by anything. But the key is to have a balance; to bend when the wind blows but bounce back up when it passes. To allow things to change us in the sense that we are rough rocks being made smooth. To keep what should be kept and let go of what must go. Growth, letting go, new life, new things. That is how our life with Christ began, and that is how it will continue.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!
-2 Corinthians 5:17