Back in Florida we had a church garden. One of the sisters offered her backyard, so we took a few weekends to dig everything up and plant a beautiful garden. I’ve never been around much gardening; my Papa grew tomatoes, but I basically just joined in on the eating. I was excited for the opportunity to learn and for the kids to learn as well.
As I was thinning some bok choi one afternoon, I saw a picture of the Lord. You see, thinning is a process that must be done carefully. The point of thinning is to give the garden the best chance of a good harvest. If there are too many plants, then none will grow fully.
To make sure I didn’t damage the seedling that was meant to be left, I had to get on my elbows and knees and put my face down close to the ground to see exactly which plant I was pulling up. I had to separate the plants carefully and at times hold down the plant meant to remain while I pulled up others that were very close to it. I also had to pull up strong plants sometimes, simply because they were not in the proper place. But for the health of the garden it was the best thing.
Through this process I was reminded of how tenderly and closely the Lord brings Himself to us, to tend His Life within us. He lowered Himself to the point of becoming man to care for us. Now He draws so close to us that He actually dwells within us. We do not have some far away Lord, just barking orders and making demands. We have a God that is desperate to be near us and for us to be near Him, so He purposed to be as close to us as Divinely possible. To reside in us, “Christ IN you all, the hope of glory.”
What a beautiful miracle!
Another Sister reminded me that even the plants that are pulled up are not wasted. They go into the compost pile, and through their death, become food for the garden.
And when the Master Gardener is “thinning” the garden of our hearts, He does so with care. He is “thinning” so that His Life has more room to grow. And even though He may, at times, have to pull what is a stronger seedling (and therefore appears to be “more good”), we can trust that He knows what is best, and we can yield to the process.
The seedlings that I thinned that day didn’t try to thin themselves and we don’t have to either. Actually, it is better if we don’t try at all. The task we are given is to abide in The Garden, who is Jesus Christ himself. To absorb the nutrients in the Land, the Living Water, and the Light. The Master Gardener does the rest.
And by His Divine power, He will reap a harvest in us.