Arnold Prater, in his book YOU CAN HAVE JOY!, tells about a man in a little English village named John Deckard. He was a clerk in a textile factory. A modest and quiet man, he lived in an ordinary little house at the edge of town with his wife and his six-year-old son, Rob. Like thousands of Englishmen, every morning John put on his plain tweed suit, got on his bicycle, and rode to work.
Returning home at five in the evening, he would work in his garden until suppertime. Then he would spend a quiet evening with his pipe and family. He was a very ordinary man living what most people would call a very ordinary life.
But he had one claim to fame. For five consecutive years he had won the blue ribbon in the Village Garden Show with his prize rose. It had gone on so long that people had come to expect it. John Deckard's prize rose would win, and that was that.
Behind his house was his rose garden. When he returned home each evening, he would don his coveralls and spend his time out there with his roses. Some said he had more than just "a way with flowers." Some said he mothered them, that he talked to them and that they understood what he said.
This year, deep in his own heart, John Deckard knew that he would again win the blue ribbon, for this year his rose was truly a rose among roses. Never had he seen such perfection in a flower. This was his masterpiece and as he watched it daily, his contentment and pride grew.
The show was on Saturday and he planned to transplant his rose to a pot early in the morning. But while he was at breakfast, the tragedy happened. His little son Rob burst into the kitchen, and chatting excitedly he rushed to the table and cried, "Look Daddy, look what I have for you!"
And in his grimy little hand, half its petals gone, its head drooping, was John Deckard's prize rose.
That afternoon, visitors to the Garden Show were astonished when they came to John Deckard's entry. For in a flower pot he had thrust a stick, and attached to it, at the very top, was a picture of his little son, Rob. When the judges heard what had happened, they gave John Deckard an honorary blue ribbon. Some said that the rose that was not a rose was the finest he had ever grown.
God's love is like that and we can all be thankful.