by Susan Cruz
The Lesson I Learned From My Garden
Genesis 12: 1 The Lord said to Abram, "Go out from your land, your relatives, and your father's house to the land that I will show you."
The other day I was working in my garden and noticed some of the vines that were in potted plants weren't doing very well. Knowing what the blooms could be, but weren't had me wondering what might be wrong. I had kept the little card that comes with each plant purchase, so I decided to look to see what the instructions called for that I might have been ignoring or overlooked. Was it getting too much water or sun? Maybe not enough water? Upon closer inspection, I realized that several of vines were mixed with other plants and had begun to choke one another out - there just wasn't any room to grow. In an effort to help both strive, I separated the plants and gave each a home of their own to grow and to flourish.
In the above passage, the Lord didn't give specifics to Abram, simply a command to go. If I were Abram I'd be thinking of how comfortable I was in my 'secure' living space. But the Lord knew that changing Abram's environment was for Abram's good and God's greater glory. Metaphorically speaking, the Lord re-potted Abram's plant and placed him in an even grander environment to flourish even more. The Lord knew that changing his setting would bring a generation that would one day call him 'the Father of many nations'. The Lord does that sometimes - changes our environment so that we too can grow.
If the Lord is changing your environment, whether it’s a literal change in your living status or your environment, a relationship that He seems to be separating and re-potting, or whether He is changing how you see something, you can trust that the Great I AM is in control of your circumstances, albeit seemingly frightening ones. He is Dependable. He is Faithful. He is Present.
Like Abram, when we surrender to the Lord's plan for our lives He can grow our vines into a beautiful, aromatic blossom, ever more fruitful than we might ever imagine.
Matthew 23: 25 -26 “Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. Blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and dish, and then the outside also will be clean.
The changing of the seasons from Winter to Spring brings with it the opportunity to get our gardens back in order, providing us with beautiful space to sit and linger in the summer months. Last weekend we spent the days prepping our space by pulling weeds, raking leaves, cleaning off patios, scrubbing furniture and of course planting my beloved flowers.
During the course of the cleanup, I noticed that the space behind a large shrub had been overlooked. Upon further review, there was quite a bit of winter debris that had found its way to that space. When I asked my little elves why they hadn’t gone behind the shrub, the response was classic, “Because no one can see it”.
As a follower of Jesus Christ, it’s so easy for us to only want to clean up those areas that the world sees; we surely don’t want others to see our ‘dirt’. However, the Lord isn’t interested in only cleaning up that which the world sees, He’s interested in ‘going behind the shrub’ to clean the debris. The question is, will we allow him to clean us from the inside out, creating a beautiful, fruitful space?