Don’t you just love seeing the beautiful blooms popping up in the garden during this time of year?
Do you bury bulbs in the Fall and pray that the squirrels don’t find them? I have a lovely cluster of iris just about ready to bloom by my front door - and I’m impressed that their bulbs somehow eluded the Squirrel Thieves that scurry across the yard gathering their snacks for winter! Hooray for those stealthy iris! (Applause, applause.)
Do you plant seeds in the Springtime? Or do you buy plants that are already growing strong, and transplant them in your yard? Do you prefer annuals or perennials? A blend of both, perhaps?
As gardeners, we often start planning while the snow is still on the ground, don’t we? The anticipation of the potential beauty ahead gives us something to look forward to as winter wears out it’s welcome. It’s so exciting to see those first tiny pops of green peeking out on a tree branch, or up through the winter-weary ground!
Did you know that God likens you to a garden?
“And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places, and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” (Isaiah 58:11)
In Psalm 1, God says that those who meditate on scripture are “like a tree planted by rivers of water, yielding its fruit in season, whose leaf does not wither, and who prospers in all he does.”
Have you ever pondered what is being planted in the garden of your soul?
We have all heard the phrase, “You reap what you sow!” and those words often fly from the arrow of a judgmental finger pointed disapprovingly in the direction of someone who engages in questionable behavior...but the law of sowing and reaping also applies to good things!
Sow time spent with loved ones...and reap strong relationships and fond memories.
Plant seeds of kindness...and reap the joy of knowing you’ve encouraged someone and have shown the love of Christ to others, and perhaps lightened the heavy burdens they carry in their heart.
Sow generosity and charitable giving...reap the rewards of an investment made in the kingdom of God. Our Lord knows how to multiply our giving, and how to stretch it far beyond what we can dream possible.
Sow time reading the scriptures...and reap the comfort and wisdom that comes from carving out quiet time with God each day.
If we plant a pumpkin seed today, will we be picking pumpkins tomorrow? Of course not! It takes time. It takes patience and care and nurturing and WAITING before we can reap the results of our sowing. It is very comforting to know that God views us as His garden, and He is patient with us. His mercy waters us, and encourages us to grow in Christ. The soil of His word gives us a healthy foundation upon which to grow, but He also knows that we sometimes need support. Just like those tall tomato plants in your garden need a little staking or a metal “cage” to hold them up, God also sustains us with his everlasting arms when things become a little bit too heavy for us. Deuteronomy 33:27 “The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.”
A healthy garden also needs sunlight! God’s word is a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path. (Psalm 119:105) God delights in shining the warmth of His light and love upon us! Like a moth is drawn to a porch light, we are drawn to the scriptures for guidance, comfort, and wisdom. God’s word will warm our heart, and settle our mind in times of doubt and fear.
However, all gardens have weeds! And they seem to just pop up out of nowhere, don’t they? God will show us where our weeds are when we humble ourselves before Him, and ask Him to “Search me, O God, and know my heart. Try me and know my thoughts, and see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” (Psalm 139:23, 24)
Weeds are easy to dislodge when they are small and not holding on too tightly to the soil around them. But, oh, if a weed is overlooked, ignored, or left to its own devices, it will take over and damage the good plants, and the weed might even grow into a “root of bitterness” that will need some serious time and attention to be removed! May we always stay in close communication with the Master Gardener, and dig out those pesky weeds as soon as we notice them! If you find yourself with a critical spirit, or a negative attitude, ask the Gardener to help you yank that “weed” out of the garden of your heart. You are a lovely creation, tended by a Gardener who delights in you, and who finds great joy in you! His desire for you is that your heart-garden be healthy and growing and blooming in glorious colors! But, oh, those weeds! They are a perpetual part of life...they sneak into our heart’s garden, and we find ourselves saying, “Where did THAT come from?”
It’s tempting to blame our neighbor for our weeds... “Did he toss that over the fence into MY garden?” But playing the blame game does not remove the weeds. We must personally get down on our knees and dig around in the dirt to find the root of that weed, then pull it out and get rid of it. You know what will happen if you just grab the surface greens, but leave the roots in the ground, right? Those persistent little roots will find their way right back up to the surface again, and just keep on doing what they do best - causing damage and destruction throughout the garden! When you pull out a weed, dig out the deep roots. This might take some time and effort, and perhaps, extra tools. Then, give it to the Gardener for disposal. Keep a close eye on your soil, guard your garden-heart, and be sure to pull out those weeds as soon as they appear. God never gets tired of dealing with our weeds. There is no end to His understanding. Just keep asking Him to show you where they are, pull them up by the roots, and give them to Him. Keeping the weeds at bay will really help your garden to flourish beautifully!
God generously waters our garden-hearts with His Spirit, with floods of mercy, with sweet fellowship with friends. He nourishes our soil by His word, and by communicating with Him in prayer. A bountiful garden is one that has been thoughtfully tended on a daily basis. Neglected gardens rarely thrive (unless you are a succulent - Succulents thrive on neglect! They are the perfect plant for people who forget that they have plants!)
God never forgets to care for His garden. He created you to be a beautiful, botanical masterpiece, abounding with blessings! He makes “everything beautiful in His time.” Ecclesiastes 3:11
Our Lord speaks abundantly to us in scripture using metaphors and comparisons that describe our journey of faith as a garden or a strong tree or a healthy plant. He makes it easy for us to see word pictures describing how much He loves us. We know how much care goes into creating a lovely garden. That’s YOU, my friend! You are growing in Christ as a beautiful, flourishing garden, with our Heavenly Father working daily as the Master Gardener to water you, to provide sunlight, to pull the weeds, and to enjoy the lush foliage that is a result of sowing good seeds and closely nurturing all of the precious plants as they grow.
Let God tend your garden, and bloom where you are planted!