Sherlock, Roses, and God

prink rose 'Bill Warner'
‘Bill Warner’

I was reading Sherlock Holmes “The Adventure of the Naval Treaty” the other day when I came across a quote about religion. I’ve read maybe a third of the Doyle’s Sherlock stories, but never thought of the character as religious before. In this story, Sherlock has just heard the particulars of a case and walks to the open window, where he plucks a rose.

“There is nothing in which deduction is so necessary as in religion,” said he, leaning with his back against the shutters. “It can be built up as an exact science by the reasoner. Our highest assurance of the goodness of Providence seems to me to rest in the flowers. All other things, our powers, our desires, our food, are really necessary for our existence in the first instance. But this rose is an extra. Its smell and its colour are an embellishment of life, not a conditions of it. It is only goodness which gives extras, and so I say again that we have much to hope from the flowers.”

yellow rose 'Aperitif'

I’ve marveled at the roses growing in my garden as examples of God’s creative work, but not precisely in this light before. Sherlock’s belief that, “It is only goodness which gives extras” fits perfectly with this scripture:

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.(James 1:17)

How many “extras” has God put in your life? How many gifts has He given that are not necessary for your existence, but make life so much more enjoyable?

Aside from flowers, one of the first things I thought of was books. If all my 1,000+ books disappeared right now I would 1) have the most outrageous panic attack, but 2) life would go on in that I don’t need books to stay alive. Music, fluffy cats, chocolate covered almonds, and the computer I’m typing this with are all “extras.”

red rose 'Mr. Lincoln'
‘Mr. Lincoln’

Considering this, the only thing I can think of to say is:

Praise ye the LORD. O give thanks unto the LORD; for He is good: for His mercy endureth for ever. Who can utter the mighty acts of the LORD? who can shew forth all His praise? (Ps. 106:1-2)