Lessons Learned in the Garden

By Susan Nichols, Fellowship Bible Church CR Devotional Team 6/27/2018
Lessons Learned in the Garden
For many years, we had a huge vegetable garden where we grew tomatoes, cucumbers, corn, okra, purple hull peas, greens, and more.  We loved growing our own food and sharing fresh vegetables with friends and neighbors.  I must admit, however, that while caring for the garden was satisfying, it took continual effort to make sure it was productive. 

Inline imageOne of the biggest chores was weeding.  My favorite tools for this were my two hoes.  The pointed ends of my crescent hoe (below left) were for precision work—reaching under individual weeds to pull them up, turning over the soil and exposing the roots in the process.  My heavier grub hoe (below right) helped overturn larger patches of weeds or unwanted grasses whose roots ran deeper into the soil.  

                                                        
         
                               Inline image
          
Just like that vegetable garden, we all have weeds—the effects of trials, traumas, and tribulations that have changed us emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. There’s no getting around it—these weeds must be pulled.   Walking through the healing process is painful and it’s common to experience upheaval as we talk about issues, put up healthy boundaries, and give ourselves permission to feel (often, for the first time). 
Disappointments threaten to choke out the life and hope of God in us, but God, our Master Gardener, knows how to coax good fruit from those disappointments.  That fruit sustains not only us but those around us as well.  His work in us is purposeful and He promises to cultivate us (to promote our growth through labor and attention):

“Jesus replied, ‘Every plant not planted by my Heavenly Father will be uprooted…’”              (Matt. 15:13).
“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” 
(Isaiah 58:11). 

What incredible promises He has made to us!  He knows we have no way of saving or fixing ourselves and assures us He will always work on our behalf.  I understand how hard it is to be still and let Him have His way.  If, however, we allow ourselves to rest in Him and to wait upon Him, the reward will be great!  More peace, more healing, more gratitude, more hope, and more love for Him will quickly follow.

“Who will protect me from the wicked?  Who will stand up for me against evildoers?  Unless the Lord had helped me, I would soon have settled in the silence of the grave.  I cried out, ‘I am slipping!’ but your unfailing love, O Lord, supported me.  When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer.”  (Matt. 19:16-19).
“So, let's not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don't give up.”  (Gal. 6:9).

Dear Lord,
You are All-Wise, knowing exactly what it will take to conform me to your Image.  I’m so thankful that you understand what it’s like to be human. Please work in me, removing the pain of past hurts, anger, bitterness, pride, and all the other weeds that remain in my life.  Help me, God, to hand things over to you as soon as you show them to me.  Have your way in my life today!       ~Amen!

Click HERE to listen to "Hard Love" by NeedtoBreathe (feat. Lauren Daigle)

(Left photo:  cottageworks.com)
(Right photo:  cottageworks.com)

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