Here‘s the scenario: I’m in the back yard early in the morning trying to have some undistracted time with the Lord, but my attention is consistently drawn to the sensate beauty around me. Albeit my patio garden couldn’t hold a citronella candle to some of the other gardens around in this area, yet the songs of the birds, the wind in the trees, the morning sunshine dappling through the leaves, the color and contours of the flowers and the cool of the morning air all combine to lure me away from exercising the discipline I had intended. Adding to that, my imagination now wanders to various projects I would like to work on next to improve certain areas of my little spot: weeding, fertilizing, installing liners to prevent runoff when the summer rains make their appearance. So, yeah, I’m definitely having some difficulty staying mentally on my original task this morning.
Then it hits me—wait a minute! This is how God Almighty thinks of me! Psalm 139 tells me that His thoughts are continually toward me, and that if I could count them, they would outnumber the sand!
He sees me as more beautiful than a garden’s beauty, more distracting (if that were possible for God) than the delights of my own current diversions. His mind is consistently excited about the work He intends to accomplish in me next: shoring up the new plantings of faith and growth so that the inevitable rains of life will not wash the progress away, rooting up the weeds of shame and fear that cause damage to the mind and heart, watering and feeding for greater growth, and, yes, pruning, which is necessary for new branches to appear and for increased productivity.
But what is even more amazing is that this work of the Master Gardener is NOT due to any anger or frustration on His part. It is, much to the surprise of many who would consider themselves “religious”, an expression of His joy, just as it is a joy for me to work in my garden!
- I’m not angry at my garden because of the weeds and the poor soil, or the rocks in the wrong places. Of course, I don’t want it to stay that way. So also does God Almighty, in His wisdom and sovereignty, make decisions about what needs to be changed and rearranged in my life to fit His grand, overall design. Now, I can submit willingly to His decisions, or I can choose not to. Have you ever had a weed that “fought back” when you tried to pull it? When it didn’t just slide out with the first yank, what happens next? When the weed refuses to be pulled, it gets uncomfortable for the weed, as well as all the ground around it, at least for a while. Ouch.
- I certainly don’t give up on my garden during the winter seasons of dormancy, but cover up the roots to keep them warm and alive until the inevitable return of spring. Neither does my Heavenly Father disown me in the winter seasons when it “appears” that nothing is happening, or it looks like all the former beauty of passion and enthusiasm has withered away and disappeared.
- It is my pleasure to work in my garden heartily to spread the ashes of “recycled soil” from my burn pile to other areas for increased nutrition. Ashes are not pretty; and the burning process gets pretty hot, and then smolders for a long time creating even more ash. The pile itself isn’t much to look at, but the soil is some of the most fertile in my entire yard. So also does my Father consider when He views the ash piles in my life—the heartaches, the disappointments, the bad decisions, even the sin and corresponding consequences— to give me “beauty for ashes”. (Isaiah said that…)
Here’s to the beautifully distracting colors of spring! And the reminder that we are even more beautiful to our Gardener.