God loves a garden. He’s done some of His best works in gardens. Ever since the fall of man in the Garden of Eden, He has been calling us back. He called us back to the Garden of Gethsemane and to Jesus’ tomb in the garden near Golgotha. He had things to teach us and tell us in those gardens.
He gives us the same care and hope in the gardens we make and tend in our own backyards. He wants us on our knees. From that position we pull out weeds, pluck off pests and get a close-up view of His creation through our labors.
In the garden, God develops my faith. I drop into the soil tiny seeds that barely hint at the life they hold, cover them and wait. I have to believe that even though I can’t see them, they are still there. I trust that the sun will shine on them when they need it and the sky will rain on them when they thirst. Day in and day out, I’m forced to believe that something is happening down there in the dark. Then, one day, I walk out to the garden to discover that seedlings have pushed their way to the surface, rewarding my trust and strengthening my fragile conviction.
A garden has rhythm and timing. I have learned that the seasons matter. Regard for them while sewing impacts the bounty when harvesting. The pace is deliberate. Efforts to push or delay rarely result in more corn, bigger tomatoes or booming butterbeans. In the end, I surrender to the set tempo. It teaches me patience and enlivens desire for what is to come and gratefulness for what has passed. More than that, it keeps my attention focused on the here and now of getting my plants to prosper.
I am fed. My family is fed. On vegetables and herbs washed by the dew. Real food.
God is there with me in my humble backyard garden. When my hands are busy and my spirit is quiet, He speaks to me. He shows the wonders of His design. I am awed at the rows of green, leafy plants boasting colorful yields and robust flavors. I look at my hands, very small, and accept that I have not done this myself. No one is on her own in the garden.
Row upon row, the beauty of forgiveness quilts the black earth. Seeds planted too deep or too shallow find a way. Leaves wilted from soil drying around their roots promptly perk as the sprinkler sends droplets cascading over them. Despite my amateur skills, the plants in my care almost always find a way. I am absolved of my blunders and I receive second chances, so that I am continually molded into the best gardener I can be.
The toil tones my muscles. The fresh air cleanses my lungs. Moving, bending, squatting, stretching, hoeing, shoveling, tilling, digging keeps my body conditioned and my mind sharp. The exercise teaches me to love the weeds as much as anything else. Long live the weeds. It is here in the safety and tranquility of the garden that He prepares me for what He has planned. I will be ready when my purpose unfolds.
God loves a garden, no matter how big or how small, no matter how productive, no matter how well-kept or weedy. He has a history of working miracles in gardens. All that is asked of us is that we meet Him there and give our labors over to Him. He will help us grow.
copyright 2013 Lucy Adams
(Lucy Adams is the author of Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run. She lives in Thomson, GA. Email Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org.)