For a brief, shining moment this past Saturday, Spring came to Tennessee. I grabbed a pair of gloves, a stack of lawn bags and began tackling the largest flower bed in my yard. There was a lot to be done. Leaves had piled into the corners. A framework of brittle, gray flower stems from last summer overshadowed a carpet of hardy weeds already staking their claim for the new year. It didn’t take long for my back to begin to ache.
I need some help with the yard. I thought to myself as I wrenched a desiccated zinnia from last summer free from the earth. I gathered the dry stems into a bunch and snapped them into sections. Once vibrant and strong, the plant was little more than dust. Throughout the heat of summer it had lifted countless blooms of bright orange, red, and yellow to the blazing sun. In the autumn, its colors dimmed as it sheltered birds beneath its leaves and fed them from its seeds. Then one of the harshest winters in memory descended. Day after day, and night after long night, the icy winds blew until every trace of life was gone.
I dropped my gloves to the ground to carefully pluck the remaining seed pods from the stems. Then I rubbed them between my hands and scattered the seeds over the cool spring ground.
The garden wouldn’t be the same if I hired someone to care for it. I thought. No one else would take the time to do this. No one else would love it this much.
I am comforted that Scripture repeatedly depicts God as a gardener. He began the world with a garden. He compared His love for Israel to a gardener caring for His vineyard. (Isaiah 5). Jesus described our relationship with Him and God the Father as that of a vine and a gardener (John 15:1).
I know His relationship with me has been reflective of a Gardener patiently nurturing, planting, weeding, feeding…restoring the garden of my life. There have certainly been countless times he has gathered all that was dead and wasted into His hands to lovingly sprinkle it over the soil of promise once again. I have no doubt He did so while breathing a prayer hope for the beauty it would someday become.