At the edge of the yard on my dad’s property grew a large bed of vibrant orange tiger lilies. Every year as early summer came, they popped up and opened toward the sky. They were not just another patch of old-fashioned flowers; they had been planted 60 years before by my English great-grandmother when she lived in an old cabin on the family farm during my grandfather’s boyhood. When I was young, I marveled that my great grandmother, who I had never met, had planted those flowers that still sprung forth every year.
Tiger lilies are a native to Asia, and are thought to represent friendship and prosperity, among other things. In our culture, prosperity often means wealth and the accumulation of material possessions or status. Currently, it is something we long to return to in our nation. Biblical prosperity is something more valuable than money and more lasting than all the fine things we seek to own. It is the health of our soul and spirit:
Beloved, I pray that in every way you may succeed and prosper and be in good health [physically], just as [I know] your soul prospers [spiritually]. 3 John 2
The Apostle John longed for those he taught to experience true and lasting prosperity. He understood that by caring for both the soul (mind, will, and emotions), the spirit (deepest and eternal part of our being), that our whole life would be strong and flourishing even though we would face trials and tribulation in this world.
Those lovely flowers planted by my great grandmother brought color and beauty to the edge of a dusty farm road for generations. I imagine she even displayed bouquets of the orange beauties on her dinner table to welcome summer into her little cabin home. But as lovely as they were, they could never compare to the beauty of a prosperous, healthy soul and spirit yielded to the Hand of God.