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Tuesday, June 17, 2014

God's Garden

  We had stopped by their house to admire the pretty flowers out front. The wife had said to us at church that her garden was gorgeous this year, so my family and I went to have a look.
   As I wandered about and looked at all of the colorful blooms, a thought occurred to me: my relationship to God can be likened to that of a gardener and his or her flowers. God, the Master Gardener, has filled His garden with countless flowers of various colors, sizes, and styles - people of all backgrounds, ethnicities, and cultures who have been "planted" there for their Creator's pleasure. While each has grown in different ways, at different times, all can trace their beginnings back to when God planted in them the seed of faith, thus eventually producing a vital relationship with Him. The more I thought about this, the more personal the idea became to me: as a flower in God's garden, I am made for His glory and pleasure! As I flourish under His nurture and care, I reflect back to Him the praise and gratitude He deserves. The credit for my growth belongs to Him because His masterful touch brought it about. Without the Gardener, the flower is nothing. It will only wilt and die.
   At times, my garden has been filled with weeds: roots of bitterness, anger, guilt, and fear that run deep, choking out the ability to blossom with joy. There have been seasons when He has had to weed my soul, to rip out the roots so that growth can begin once again. Most often, it has hurt deeply. But the end result has been a growth far greater than before. There are moments when I fight the cultivating. I try to tell God that He's done enough weeding for the day; a few here and there won't hurt. I say these things because I have forgotten one thing: I cannot bloom otherwise. I cannot thrive without trials. I cannot grow without pain. The weeding process is essential, and all those who grow in the same garden of His get the same care. I am not alone. 

The great preacher Charles Spurgeon once wrote:

"Oh to have one's soul under heavenly cultivation: no longer a wilderness
but a garden of the Lord; enclosed from the waste, walled around by grace,
planted by instruction,visited by love, weeded by heavenly discipline, and guarded by divine power. One soul thus favored is prepared to produce fruit to the glory of God."

And I heartily agree. Cultivate me, Lord, so that I may bloom in Your garden and yield for you an abundance of pleasure.