Friday, January 16, 2009

A delightful garden

A beautiful garden takes your breath away. When you step into a garden like the one pictured here (Butchart Garden outside Victoria, B.S.), you feel as though you've landed on another planet. The colors, textures, and shapes dazzle your eyes. Probably because it is kept by a fleet of trained gardeners, there's not a weed nor a plant out of place. It's perfect.

When you read The Song of Solomon chapter 4.6-5.2, you realize this is the way God sees his people - as beautiful gardens, wonderful to behold. Yet are we really that way?

Far too many Christians feel as though they are at best last year's garden, something that once wonderful, but now is overgrown, broken down, and filled with weeds. If someone were to stumble into this garden, the last thing they would want to do is stay.

Yet that isn't how God sees his people. In spite of the overgrowth and weeds, he sees the beauty that he is creating, and focuses on what will be. What a blessing that is to remember.

As I was contemplating this scripture, it reminded me of something that happens when you garden. Sometimes when a weed first emerges from the soil, it is quite beautiful. It is delicate, appearing to be the beginning of a delightful flower. If you operate on that assumption and let it grow, however, in time you will be sorry. It will overtake the plants around it, and send out runners under the ground that will make it difficult to eradicate. If you'd have plucked it out of the ground when it first made its appearance, there would be no problem. But when you let it flourish, watch out!

So is it with sin in our lives. The point is not that we will have none. The seeds of sin blow into and take root in every life. That is not the issue. The challenge is what we do with them. Do we let them take hold and grow, or do we pluck them out and get rid of them before they ever get the chance?

If we want to join God in the process of making a beautiful garden of our lives, we only have one choice. As the challenges to our lives in the Lord emerge, when we find ourselves face to face with temptations to divert from the path he has for us, he reminds us to see them for what they really are - weeds that would destroy a beautiful garden. As we look at them that way, it helps us do the gardening we need to that the beauty of the garden might be enjoyed by all!

Happy gardening and blessings to you,

Pastor Bill