My love of gardening began early in life when a sweet neighbor lady cultivated my passion for plants. She lived a bicycle-distance away and my nine-year-old self would visit the tiers of plant beds behind her house on Winchester Road. I was in awe of her abundant greenery and blossoms and would soak in the horticultural information that she happily shared with me.
If one of my potted plants at home was sick, I would transport them in my bike basket and bring them to her house for doctoring. She usually knew exactly what the problem was. I wish I could tell her how much her time and attention meant to me.
I’ve long since lost touch with this kind lady. Perhaps I can pay her back by sharing some wisdom I have gleaned in the years since, when my own plant-filled garden has taught me not just horticultural know-how, but given me spiritual insights as well:
– Plants need pruning so they will grow healthier. After the pruning is complete, they come back more beautiful than ever.
Pruning is painful as the Lord gets rid of things in my life that keep me from growing closer to Him. Allowing God to do his “gardening” in my spirit will cause my soul to be healthy and lovely in His sight.
– Sometimes a plant may look beautiful and even smell lovely—but if it takes over your garden consuming all the dirt, it becomes a weed. Get rid of it.
Activities may be harmless in and of themselves. But if they consume my time and energies, leaving me spiritually bankrupt, I need to reassess my priorities.
– Weeds are easier to keep away if we pull them up by the root when they are small. Leaving them to bloom and spread is a far tougher battle. They can kill an entire garden if they are not dealt with.
Seeds of bitterness, anger, resentment, or judgmental attitudes are evils best destroyed before their roots spread. Left to grow, they will destroy me, spiritually.
– Watering and feeding will sustain growth. Neglecting either will cause them to wilt and die.
Being too busy to read God’s Word each day and pray is akin to forgetting to eat. I will feel weak and irritable. Better for my body and spirit to be nourished at the very start, so my physical and spiritual strength will be encouraged.
– Sunlight is the source of energy for plants. Darkness will stunt their growth.
Seeking the light of God’s Son provides growth in this world of darkness. Allowing light into the recesses of my sinful soul allows me to clean out the decay of sin.
– Rabbits are adorable—but even sweet-looking creatures can consume and devour healthy plants.
Even Satan can appear as “an angel of light.” Beauty on the outside can deceive a heart that is not spiritually discerning.
– Sometimes, no matter how well we care for them, plants die. We need to let them rest in peace.
Accepting the frailty of life is so painful. Yet we live in a world of sin and death. Our hope is in an everlasting life with Jesus Christ, if we follow “the Way, the Truth and the Life.”
“The Lord will guide you, always: He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.” Isaiah 58:11 NIV