There’s an interesting fable from Holland about three tulip bulbs named No, Yes, and Maybe. They lived at the bottom of a bulb tin, content to be round and fat, and dressed in silky brown garments. When autumn came, they fell to discussing the destiny of tulip bulbs. No said, “I don’t think there is any other life for tulip bulbs. We were made to live in bulb tins and I’m quite content to be right here.” And with that he rolled over and went to sleep.
Maybe disagreed. “I’m not satisfied with things as they are. I feel something inside me that I must achieve and I believe I can.” So he squeezed and squeezed himself, turning this way and that. But nothing happened, and finally in frustration he gave up.
Then Yes spoke up. “I’ve been told,” he said very softly, “that by ourselves we can do nothing, but that we can achieve our destiny, if we put ourselves in God’s hands.” The others just sniffed and looked away.
Now one day a hand reached down into the bulb tin, groping for a bulb. No and Maybe scurried out of reach, and hid in a corner. But Yes rolled right into that hand, which took him out and buried him in the cold, damp earth of winter!
“What a fool to fall for that trick,” laughed No and Maybe, who were warm, dry, and safe in their little bulb tin. And with that they went back to sleep. When spring came, No and Maybe were nowhere to be seen. No had shrivelled up and died in his sleep; while Maybe had worried and fidgeted himself to death. Nothing remained of them but a few dry husks and a handful of dust. And what about Yes who had let himself be buried all winter in the ground and had seemed to everyone to be dead? Well he was a sight to behold. For you see, he had burst out of the ground and blossomed into a whole new life.
God is inviting us to blossom into a new life, a life so rich and full that Jesus describes it as a banquet hosted by a king. Everything we could ever want, everything our hearts have ever longed for, is on the table, put there by our Father. Yet, we find it hard to say “yes,” hard to accept his invitation to the banquet. Our fear-habits hold us back, our fears of letting go, our fears of losing we’re-not-quite-sure-what. And so, in response to God’s invitation, we hedge our bets and mutter a “maybe,” which leaves the door open but leaves most of life’s banquet out of reach.
What’s the problem? The problem is trust. For if we really trusted that God does love us and would never lie to us or do us harm, then we’d have to believe him when he tells us where happiness is to be found. And we’d have to say “yes” when he calls us to get up and walk with him to the banquet, for he knows where the feast is . . . and where it’s not.
The key is trust, and that doesn’t come easily. So we need to offer a quiet prayer for one another.
Lord, every day of our life you’ve shown how vast and how tender is your love for us. And from the moment of our birth, you have given us good reason to trust you. So now at last we commit ourselves into your hands to be shaped and transformed into your likeness. Again and again you have invited us to a new life. Now with your help our answer is “yes,” and so may it be for the rest of our days. Amen.