You are a Garden
Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada and I love a beautiful garden.
Like my sister Jay’s garden back on the Maryland farm. On many days I would sit by the farmhouse window that overlooked her vegetable and flower gardens. She had cordoned off two different plots from our pasture! The vegetable garden was large and there she would be, raking and tilling rows of zucchini, butternut lettuce, tomatoes and silver queen corn (my favorite). Jay Kay took pride in her rows of vegetables – as well as the long, straight lines of marigolds in between the veggies to keep the bugs away. Even those rows were neat and tidy. It was so fascinating to watch my sister tend to her garden – she worked hard to keep away invaders like bugs, varmints, weeds, thorns and dandelions and rabbits.
When I lived on the farm and my sister, Jay and I would read the Bible together and she resonated with scriptures that spoke about gardens, like Song of Solomon Chapter 5, verse one, God (as the gardener) calls us His garden. He says, “Come into my garden, my lover, my bride.” Well, we also gleaned from Charles Spurgeon a few thoughts on what it means to be “God’s garden”. We are a lovely, set apart and reserved plot that He has purchased. We are His, and we can learn a valuable gardening lesson or two from that, given that a garden is not a wild and unruly wilderness. No, it is separate from what grows wild. It’s protected, it’s fenced in, it’s something somebody owns, a gardener claims it, and like any garden, God really works it and protects it, or I should say, He works us and protects us, rakes and tills us to produce something good in this world of weeds of our lives. And as the garden, we need to respect that, because although we may be in this world, we are not of it. God did not purchase us to be wild and unruly. No, when we make compromises, trying to edge as close to the world’s ways as we possibly can without becoming tainted (we think). Grace dries up, it stays low, it diminishes. Grace doesn’t flow easily and liberally. God’s not going to waste time watering the weeds and thorns in your life, oh, no. He has no intention of encouraging your compromised ways; if anything, He roots those things out. To God, a garden is a place that reflects His design, His intention, it’s a place of beauty where good and lovely things grow. And so, as His word says, “We should grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.” And growth can be rapid when you yield to God and His rake.
And as much as the Bible talks about rest, how we are to rest in Christ, enter God’s Sabbath rest? Well, resting in Him is quite a theme in Scripture, and so a garden is a place of rest. It’s a place of retirement. I want my life, my heart to be reserved for Jesus. As most of you know, I’ve got to get out of my wheelchair early, shortly after dinner and that’s the time I lie flat in bed, just communing with the Lord, praying to Him or singing, quoting back to Him words of Scripture or a hymn. Ah, what rest, rest for me, and rest with my Savior, the gardener of all things good. I gleaned all these thoughts from Charles Spurgeon, a devotional that he had written. And you know what, we’re into winter right now, and maybe you are already planning a garden for next spring. If so, make it personal. Learn the lessons. Draw the parallel to your own life. You are God’s garden, purchased and owned by Him; you are the garden intended to grow and produce good things, beautiful things, to be free of thorns, and most of all, to be that wonderful place of rest for communing with the Lord Jesus.
© Joni and Friends
Featured Resources From Joni Eareckson Tada: Sharing Hope
Discover the secret to peace, joy, and hope in times of anxiety as the beloved author of Joni weaves contemporary insights with the timeless wisdom of seventeenth-century monk Brother Lawrence.The Practice of the Presence of Jesus offers wisdom from these two everyday saints, writing nearly four hundred years apart, that teaches you how to experience the nearness of God in your life. Through rich devotional content from Brother Lawrence’s Practice of the Presence of God, and through original art and new meditations from Joni, you’ll encounter a unique weaving of past and present spiritual reflections on a God who never changes.As we recognize God with us moment by moment, our mundane becomes holy. Our pain becomes peace-filled. And our uncertainties fade into the greatest, most certain hope of all.