Ever-Blooming Roses Despite Life’s Prickles: Prickles and Predators

A grasshopper avoids this rose’s fierce prickles!

Prickles and Predators

Did you know what we commonly refer to as thorns on rose bushes are botanically speaking actually prickles? Thorns run deep within the sap of a branch whereas on a rose, the prickle is just along the surface of the rose’s bark and can be snapped off. Nevertheless, the purpose of the prickle is to protect the rose from predators. Various animals including rabbits, deer, and even horses would find roses a delicious snack if it weren’t for protective prickles. The piercing prickles also protect the plant from caterpillars and other insects that would welcome the climb up with a leafy treat as its reward. ​

“…God withdrew from him, in order to test him, that He might know all that was in his heart.” 2 Chronicles 32:31

As a young woman, I discovered evil can sometimes manifest in the likes of wile handsome devils looking to devour your heart, or more accurately stated, your undergarments. After I found myself divorced, sexual temptations only grew worse within my wanton heart. Feeling defeated emotionally, physically, and most definitely spiritually, I decided I needed to stop “playing the harlot” and get it together! Lo and behold, if a so-called angel of light didn’t come across my path just in time to save me from my new found resolve. You guessed it! A gorgeous man pursued me like no other despite my repeated refusals. In one of my rejections, I explained my commitment to work on an important area neglected in my life… my soul! Shortly thereafter, in yet another persistent attempt to win a date, the devil-in-disguise craftily confessed he was in a Bible study earlier that morning. With this tid-bit of knowledge, my young naïve heart perked up questioning my harsh judgments against his sexy self. Needless to say, when you combine good looks and God talk, with promises to take care of me, I was SOLD! Wish I could say it was a dream come true, but with all the drama this guy brought, I needed Triple A to help me deal with his Triple A’s: Addictions, Affairs, and Abuse! You see, had I been strong in my relationship with Abba Father, bound and guarded with His truth (Proverbs 3), or prickles meant to protect, I would have seen that predator coming! The latter verses of Deuteronomy 12 into Chapter 13 warn that God will test us to see if we will choose Him and His Torah or choose to follow other false gods, false messiahs, or people in error. Instead, I found myself picking and choosing which of God’s boundaries I was going to hop on over like fornication or mingling with false people rather than binding God’s instructions to me to help me remember His Torah, which is His Voice, His Word, His Way, His Truth. I failed to realize as people commissioned to be the light, that the light is living God’s Torah, a set-apart lifestyle.

​”For the commandment is a lamp, and the law a light; reproofs of instruction are the way of life…” Proverbs 6:23

The truth is, beloved, spiritual captivity often leads to some form of physical captivity. Just read the accounts of the wicked kings reigning over the Northern and Southern Kingdoms of Israel and their outcomes found in the Hebrew Bible to verify. Or, you could erroneously have weak boundaries and consequently rebel against God’s boundaries while falling in lust with addicted, abusive, player type of men like I foolishly did and you too will glean this wisdom soon enough.

​If rose bushes aren’t covered in prickles, they would be devoured by all sorts of pestilence and predators. Likewise, do yourself a favor, get rooted in God’s Word and grow some prickles for you too will be tested!

“Dream Come True”, a grandiflora rose.

Ever-Blooming Despite Life’s Prickles: The Bud Union

The Bud Union

Near the base of a rose bush you may discover what’s known in rose parlance as the “bud union”. The bud union is a marriage of two different roses for the purpose of providing a hardier and more stable bush. Typically, a bud union can be found on a hybrid tea or floribunda variation plant.

Commercial rose breeders mass produce root stock in their fields and then later graft in another rose variant to create the hybrid tea, for example. Most root stock in the USA is known as “Dr. Huey”, which if left to grow, produces a maroon colored rose. Dr. Huey is a climbing bush with much strength and aggression. Think of it as a rose bush on steroids! Assuming the graft is successful, a bud union will solidify and the intended design will eventually flourish. Consequently, many roses in our gardens today have a Dr. Huey lurking beneath. Frequently, Dr. Huey will present a “sucker”, or random cane emerging from the soil but not connected to the bud union base. Such a random cane is known as a sucker because it will suck much needed nutrients from the intended plant. If left to grow, the sucker’s canes, leaves, and blooms will be noticeably different than the rest of the intended bush. Also, if you experience a harsh winter and your bush consequently perishes, Dr. Huey, or whatever root stock that was used to design the plant, may emerge from the depths.

​Just like all people have pros and cons, both grafted and own-root roses have pros and cons. A further disadvantage to purchasing a grafted rose bush is the fact that some may be infected with the Rose Mosaic Virus, which is different than the Rose Rosette Disease. If the root stock is diseased, it will only be a matter of time before the virus destroys the entire plant. A plant may actually perform rather well for a season or two, but the Rose Mosaic Virus is systematic as it works through every crevice of such a union. Before purchasing a new rose bush, look for a certified virus free one!​

“And you shall be holy to Me, for I, the Lord, am holy, and I have distinguished you from the peoples, to be Mine.” Leviticus 20:26

As a single woman, particularly in my roaring twenties, I settled for what you may label an “unbeliever” in a bud union of our own. But like an infected rose bush, our marriage only thrived a season or two. It would seem my stable and hardy Dr. Huey was more like an aggressive Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde!

​God commissioned Israel, who eventually became known as the Jewish people, to be the light to the world (see Leviticus 25:55; Isaiah 42:6-7; 49:3,6). Additionally, the Israelites, or Jewish people, were instructed, warned, and reprimanded by God for forming romantic relationships with those not of Israel (see Numbers 25, 36; Deuteronomy 7:1-11; Nehemiah 13; Ezra 9-10, as a few examples). Perhaps Abba Father knows it is hard enough to cultivate a healthy, lasting, loving marriage without the added difficulties of differing cultures and faith.

​Or, to put it another way, just like there is clean and unclean meat, there are clean and unclean men or clean and unclean relationships. I know as single women we sometimes feel like we are sojourning along a wearisome wilderness wanting companionship, marriage, and babies. The temptation to settle for someone outside of our faith, whatever faith that may be, lures our easily deceived hearts. May we be careful not to forget or forsake our devotion to the One True God exchanging our eternal relationship for other lovers (Hosea 2-3). Should we intentionally forsake Him and His will for us, we may be purchasing a virus infected plant rather than looking for the manifestation of God’s Holy Spirit as evidence in our “certified virus free” mate! Daughter, beware! Should YOU operate outside of God’s instructions regarding a “bud union” of your own grafting, you may end up being the “sucker”.

To learn more about the Rose Mosaic Virus and the Rose Rosette Disease, click here.

“Love and Peace”, a hybrid tea rose.