Robert Indiana painted two canvases with the title God is a Lily of the Valley, this work, and a second version in green. The paintings were inspired by a gospel song Indiana heard late one night on the radio. Although Indiana never could track down the song, the art historian Thomas Crow has identified it as “God Can Do Anything But Fail.”
In both versions of God is a Lily of the Valley, the large outer circle reads “God is a lily of the valley / He can do anything but fail." However the phrases on the four smaller circles are different in the two paintings. The four phrases in this version were inspired by a line in the song: “He’s a bright and morning star.” Within each circle is a color corresponding to the object referenced in the text. The four circles and their central colors are: “He is a tiger" (orange) / "He is a star" (yellow) / "He is a ruby" (red) / "He is a king" (pink).