“Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.”
I enjoy our garden. It is a place of beauty and quietness. It always seems to have some area of special attractiveness in it, no matter what the time of the year. And, something new is always taking place there.
It has taken me time, though, to be able enjoy it – and that’s not just because of the work that always needs to be done. I have found, over the years, that when I look at it I tend to see the gaps, and all the things that need to be done. And so I have always been amazed when someone has said to me, ‘Wow! The garden is looking lovely!” Then I have looked at it in a different way, and seen something of what they have seen. The strange thing is that when I look at someone else’s garden I am not conscious of the gaps. I look at the plants and flowers instead, and enjoy them.
It’s fascinating, because it has also been the way that I have tended to look at myself –to see all the gaps in my life, the shortcomings, the failures, the inadequacies, the weeds – and not to be conscious of the beauty that is there. As with my garden, I have had to make a conscious effort to look for it and to find it. And it is there – in talents, gifts, aspects of character, in creativity and ability, and in the people who care about me and have invited me into their lives. Very often I have hidden the beauty, because I am afraid of letting it out, in case it is ridiculed or in case it fails in some way. Frequently I have ignored it and tried to focus on, and do something about, the gaps in my life instead.
Slowly it has dawned on me that it is the special things that God has placed in my life that He most wants to grow. And it is these that are the things of beauty that others perceive and enjoy. He appears to be less concerned about the areas that I see as gaps. It reminds me of the story of creation.
- God planted a garden in the east, in Eden
- God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground
- God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it
It’s that which God has planted that He wants to see grow, develop, flower and bear fruit. These are the true things of beauty in our lives. That’s why some of them are called the fruit of the Spirit.
Ask God to show you the special gifts and that He has planted in your life, and allow them to develop there.
Father, You are indeed the Gardener in my life. Please prune what is not of You and cherish what is that I may flower and bear fruit to Your glory, Amen.