By Andrew Jewell
I’m not a gardener by any means. I may have the odd project or collection of plants that I dote on and care for but I wouldn’t really regard myself as having a green thumb. Generally for something to grow in my garden it historically needed to thrive on neglect. Luckily many plants do.
The way I see it, and have generally always seen it is that it is God’s garden. I may tend it occasionally, plant a few hings on a whim or trim something into shape, but largely it is His creation and He knows far better than me what can make it sing.
However, that is not to say that there are not many things that being in the garden on those rare occasions has taught me about my Father. About a loving God that takes care of an in His Creation, including me.
I imagine that one of the things most avid gardeners will tell you is that things take time to grow and come together. Whether that be for a harvest, an aesthetic design or simply to see a flowerbed flourish.
One of the things that I have also learn’t about God is that He is a patient God. He knows in his wisdom that change and growth take time. Certainly I know that daily He is (luckily) patient with me. But being in the Garden, amongst all things that ultimately He has control over has also taught me patience.
It shows me that change and growth takes times, in myself, in the flora and fauna, and in others. When we are patient in that great things happen. Growth springs forth when we least expect it, we get the satisfaction of knowing that things will eventually come to fruition. We develop an awareness and a sense of comfort that He is in control.
Personally I find gardens to be quite humbling. They tend to make me aware on a deep level that regardless of my toil, ultimately whether something lives or dies is part of God’s design. There is a humility to be found in being out of control. In ultimately having to submit ourselves to the Father’s will.
Likewise however there is also a humbleness to be found in holding this small seemingly helpless thing in your hands and helping it to succeed and grow. A Sense that God, as part of the blessing of stewardship (Gen 1:28) has put me in charge of something that is important to Him in His majesty.
‘Gardens aren’t just plants, they are collections of living things all created to bring glory to God in their own right. It is the flower that blooms because it basks in the glory of His sun and the birds that sing with joy over His realm.’
Stewardship over the Earth is something that we may talk about in regard to this Earth as a whole or perhaps our own area or home town, but not often when speaking about something as simple as our gardens at home. That is not to say that everything needs to be weeded, cut and tended within an inch of its life, no rather in contrast it is about helping God to tend His garden. Gardens aren’t just plants, they are collections of living things all created to bring glory to God in their own right. It is the flower that blooms because it basks in the glory of His sun and the birds that sing with joy over His realm. It is about the bees that pollinate and the bugs and crawlers that feed others and help keep the collective balance. An ecosystem of glory that always points to the Father. My role is to keep that going. An acknowledgement of all that He has provided and continues to provide. To allow this garden to point always to the Father as I should point always to the Father and acknowledge what He has created as His own.
Our God is a God of abundance and in no other place is that more evident than in a garden. I imagine if we were to count every type of plant, bug, bird and creature occupying the average garden we would be there for a very long time.
It’s easy to forget when we are seeking to be humble that God loves excess. When God created something as simple as a butterfly he didn’t create just one, but thousands of derivatives of the same one, and then went on to make mark #2, #3 and so on. All different, all with purpose, all with the fingerprint of God. Rejoice in what He has made abundant.
Finally Garden’s are an allegory for Love. They are an expression of how much God loves and cares for us and His Creation. They thrive on the loving attention we may give to it, and inter-thrive with one another as they pollinate, fertilise, cross-pollinate, feed the soil, die and fertilise each other again. Not by chance, but by design. Moreover they are designed to be beautiful, just as God’s love for us is beautiful.
‘I am overwhelmed with joy in the Lord my God!
For he has dressed me with the clothing of salvation
and draped me in a robe of righteousness.
I am like a bridegroom dressed for his wedding
or a bride with her jewels.’ (Isa 61:10)
Next time you’re in the garden think about how God’s design and love is present all around you. Listen, smell, hear and taste the beauty that He has given you. That, just as the sacrifice of his Son is His expression of love to you who He chose, predestined and tends so that you may flourish.
What other lessons will you learn from God’ garden?
© Andrew Jewell 2017 wedgetailministries.com