Our area has been on the wet side of a tropical storm/ hurricane, so we’ve spent several days inside, reading, cleaning, and watching the streets flood. With the storm dissipating after three days, I thought this would be the perfect morning to weed before it got too hot. I thought I might just “hang out” with the Lord and marvel at His creation; unfortunately, the mosquitoes and the ants had a similar plan, making new homes and laying fresh eggs.
My mother was a gardener, as well as an amateur ornithologist. I, however, always thought of myself as having a brown thumb, pun intended. My first experience, and in truth, my first interest, with caring for plants came after people blessed us with plants in her memory. I guess I thought that if I kept them alive, in some way, I was keeping a part of her alive. (Interestingly enough, for a totally separate reason, I am also enjoying learning more about birds, too.) That was 18 years ago. Now I value the time in the garden—it’s time alone, you can readily see the results of hard work, and the spiritual insights are invaluable. As I toiled, I began to process these truths:
- Weeds will sometimes grow faster, taller and deeper than plants. Sin in our lives takes root and spreads quickly. It needs no fertilization; simply having soil that allows it to germinate is enough.
- Weeds are often as attractive, if not more attractive, than the surrounding plants. I thought so much about our children in thinking through this. It is amazing how the flesh is satisfied with doing things that go contrary to what we’ve been taught. Each week when I’m in the grocery store, I ponder why people feed the billion-dollar industry that has been birthed from the hurts and suffering of today’s celebrities. Gossip and slander, for some, has triumphed over truth.
- Weeds are thickest in untouched areas. I can always tell where the weeds are thickest—where the ants are, or near the nest of a mud dauber. “Heart issues,” as Mary (@Canadagirl) describes them, are no different. There are sensitive areas that have lain dormant, allowing weeds and would-be predators to all but snuff them out. These areas need the touch of Christ to emerge and blossom as He desires.
- Weeds fight to remain planted. I intentionally chose a day following three days of almost constant rain to get out and pull weeds. Yet, even then, some were stubborn. The more we allow foreign objects—foreign to the Word and will of God, that is—to take root, the harder the weed becomes to pull. The flesh wants to rationalize, compromise and to bargain with sin, but we can only experience true victory when we flee from it.
- Pruning is necessary for growth. I once posted about this years ago here. The lesson from that post, though, is timeless:
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit—John 15:2
The devotional was entitled “divine pruning,” and focused on how God will not only cut off unfruitful branches, but even the fruitful branches must be cut so that they bear even more fruit. Wow. I continued to trim, and the imagery was so powerful. I had to cut off much of the tree—the Lord will build your faith by almost destroying it—but what remained was rich, green, and beautiful, like the tree planted by the water, which yields its fruit in season.
Well, friends, enough said. After those hours of weeding and at least one more in writing, it’s time to move on to other things, like grades and fried shrimp (smile). May God bless you.