Back to the Garden

Last summer marked my first attempt at gardening. I grew sunflowers and surprisingly, they did very well. I learned a lot from my sunflowers and you can read about that here.

As I cared for my new little garden, watering, weeding, nurturing, and protecting it, I began to see it in a whole different light.

We are all part of God’s garden.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that God created a garden first. He was the creator- He could have made a beautiful forest, a tropical island, a lofty mountain hamlet, and put Adam and Eve there. Instead, He chose to create a garden, verdant and growing, the source of sustenance for all living things. The garden was perfect because its creator was perfect.

Until we ruined it. After Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit God threw them out. Their removal from the garden was a symbol of our separation from God- Sin and perfection cannot coexist.  The separation has been there ever since. And life became a struggle.

Now we are loose in God’s beautiful world, running around, desperately looking for something, anything to fulfill us. We try romance, careers, pleasure, friends, family, adventure.  And we come up empty every time.

In order to truly find fulfillment, we have to go back to the garden and look to the One who created it.

In God’s garden we are…

  1. Rooted in the right kind of soil

This is where fulfillment starts. In a garden, the little seed isn’t good for much on its own. It’s not pretty, interesting, or exciting. It just lays there. Not until the seed starts to send out roots do things really begin to happen. Strong roots are a necessity for a plant.

Strong roots are a necessity for us, too.

A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow.  But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.  Whoever has ears, let them hear. –Matthew 13: 3-9

The seeds that rooted in good soil were the seeds that grew up strong, healthy, and productive. That good soil is God and His Word.  For us to live lives of fulfillment, we must look to God. We must dig down deep in His word and cling to it with everything we’ve got. Anything else will leave us scorched and withered.

2. Reliant on God’s provision

We must be rooted in God’s word because we need to rely on Him for our provision. This truth was driven home to me a few weeks ago after I planted my sunflower seeds. I was excited about the new garden. It went so well last year, so this year would be even better, right? I got a bunch of different seeds and planted them all over. After I planted them, I prayed over them and told God these seeds were going to be a picture of my life. As they grew I wanted them to represent my growth, too. It was a beautiful moment.

And then the squirrels ate them all.

Literally.

All of them.

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. –John 15:5

In a garden the plants can grow strong roots, but those roots need sun, water, air, and wind. God knows they have these needs and sends the elements according to His good pleasure. There’s nothing a plant can do to provide for itself. A seed can’t even prevent a squirrel from digging it up and eating it.  

We are the same. We like to pretend that we are independent, but we are just as reliant on God as those little seeds. He is the vine and we grow from Him. Apart from God I can do nothing.

3. Radiant because of His love.

Radiant means “sending out light; shining brightly.” I love flowers for that very reason- when they bloom they are radiant. What shines more brightly than a well-tended garden?  

How about a woman who is rooted in God’s truth and reliant on His provision?

…but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious. –I Peter 3:4

God is the only true source of fulfillment because we are all part of His garden. He is the soil we need to sink our roots down deep into. He is the provider of every good and perfect thing. If we trust in Him then He will fill us with joy and make us radiant. 

 If you are looking to anything or anyone else, you will always come up empty.

This week, I’m thankful for the beauty of a flower garden and the reminder that, as God cares for the lilies in the fields, He cares even more for us. Together, let’s celebrate every SINGLE blessing!

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