Puss in Boots has a problem, he is down to the last of his nine lives, and the only way he can retrieve the other lives is by finding the last wishing star, which means going on a quest though a dangerous forest. Not only that but Big Jack Horner wants to get the star too, and he is pursuing them, hellbent on destruction. When Puss and his mates Kitty and Perrito find their path blocked by roses, threatening to swallow them up, gentle Perrito the dog comes up with the solution. He doesn’t try and fight the flowers, instead he stops, leans into them and smells the roses. He is gentle and appreciates them, then the way opens and they can carry on through.
In his autobiography Surrender Bono, the lead singer of the band U2, writes about the feeling of powerlessness we sometimes have, and the way we often think the solution is to become more powerful. To get MORE POWER. But he suggests the better way is to make peace with our powerlessness, and thus find a different way forward. Just as Perrito does with the roses.
When Big Jack Horner comes along after them and the roses block his path, he sends his men in with flamethrowers, and many of them get swallowed up. He tries to blast his way through, wading in with MORE POWER, but the result is a bit of a catastrophe. The power of God is often displayed through our weakness. ‘My power is made perfect in weakness,’ he told Paul, and Paul wrote it down for us in the biblical letter of 2 Corinthians v 8-10. I wish it wasn’t like that, I want to be strong and tough and powerful. But we know that Jesus changed the universe when he hung dying on a cross, looking for all the world like a total failure. It looked as if everything was going wrong, and the might of this world’s empire had won. But not so. God’s power is different and works differently. And love leads another way.
Plus God calls us to stop and smell the flowers with him at times, rather than merely crashing on through.