But this year, I was on a mission. I have no idea where the desire or drive came from; it just showed up. I was going to fight the weeds, the trees, and the thorns. It was a challenge; a large task that caused cuts and soreness. But I couldn't help myself. I kept going back weekend after weekend, like a warrior determined to defeat his enemy. I had a personal vendetta.
Very cool how God uses the natural to illuminate the spiritual to us.
The summer is drawing to a close, and I find myself getting discouraged. Not over my backyard battle, but rather over the battle inside myself. Perhaps you've found yourself in the same place asking the same type of questions. When will I finally become the person God wants me to be? How long will the testings and the trials go on?
We can become discouraged; hopeless. Feel like throwing in the towel, think about calling it quits. Start to pull back. Maybe even lose some ground. Fear not. He understands and He knows our fragile frame.
The question came to me as I was holding a rake in my hand. Lord, I'm tired. When will I arrive on the other side of this sea of trials? And the answer came to me then. He spoke as friend standing right next to me. Speaking to my backyard labor of love, He asked, "Do you think it's unreasonable for it to take a year to complete this?" The answer was obvious. No, a year is a reasonable amount of time given the number of years the weeds and thorns have been allowed to reign. Not unreasonable at all.
And His response almost didn't need to come, but it did. Given the wounds and neglect our hearts can suffer, it is to be expected that the Master Gardner's work will take time. What has been overtaken by the weeds of confusion, the thorns of pain, the hard ground of hurt, will take time to be healed. But He will heal our land.
Before beauty can come, healing, revival, and restoration must take place. The ground must be prepared before the beauty can be planted; we would never plant flowers in the middle of the thorny thicket. And so the Lord deals with us. Before His beauty can be fully reflected in us, He must go to work in us.
There are times during the process when He gives us taste of what is to come. But the fullness of what He has planned comes after the grace-work of healing has run its course. It is His doing, His pleasure. He makes us into a beautiful garden.
Allow the Gardener, your friend, to do what He does best; and expect the beauty of spring to come soon.
(Clouds photographed by Gracie)