“The Grass Withereth, the Flower Fadeth”

Placing ourselves entirely in the hands of God, being “willing to submit to all things which [He] seeth fit to inflict upon [us]” (Mosiah 3:19) is not so much an honorable thing as it is an obvious thing. It is an exercise of our God-given agency, to be sure, and it is a gift to Him, but it is also simply a sign of enlightenment—a recognition of “things as they really are” (Jacob 4:13).

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth,” observed Isaiah. We see vulnerable things around us every day. A blade of grass is temporary. It has no control over its own lifespan. But then Isaiah brings the image home: “Surely the people is grass” (Isaiah 40:7).

Tish Harrison Warren, a priest in the Anglican Church of North America, notes that we often talk about vulnerability as something we choose. We speak of “making ourselves vulnerable,” meaning that we acknowledge our shortcomings and allow other people to see us as we really are. But Warren notes that we all carry what she calls an “unchosen vulnerability.” “We are woundable,” she says. “We can be hurt and destroyed, in body, mind, and soul. All of us, every last man, woman, and child, bear this kind of vulnerability till our dying day” (Prayer in the Night: For Those Who Work or Watch or Weep, InterVarsity Press, 2021, 14-15).

Alma taught, “Blessed are they who humble themselves without being compelled to be humble” (Alma 32:14-16). And Ezra Taft Benson added this sobering warning: “Either we can choose to be humble or we can be compelled to be humble” (“Beware of Pride,” General Conference, April 1989). I don’t think God has to do anything special to compel humility. I think it is the natural outcome of clashing with reality and realizing we’re not as smart or powerful as we thought we were.

Of course, our vulnerability can’t be on the forefront of our minds all the time. We would never get anything done. But if we push it too far away, if we ignore it entirely and pretend that it doesn’t exist, our relationship with God will suffer. Somehow, we need to remember our complete dependence on Him, even as we work to accomplish goals and as we enjoy the fruits of our labors.

Today I will remember my vulnerability. Like grass and flowers, I am in God’s hands. I will strive to submit my will to His as an act of faith and trust, but also as an act of honesty, as an acknowledgement of my inherent subservience to Him.

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