Do you believe your garden to be among God’s great garden stories?
Are you open to the possibility that as we go about working and taking care of our yards, gardens or farms, God’s wisdom will fill our minds, directing our thoughts in his ways? That is, as we tackle our garden chores, we can become aware of God-sent glimpses of Scriptures or memories of Bible stories becoming our meditation. His Word will break through mental burdens formed under the pressures of our livelihoods or the sufferings of our loved ones to bring us God’s hope, solace and courage to carry on.
Many of such personal experiences fueled the desire to create the NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible, yet my story continues unfolding—and yours will, too. Truly, there is a mystery in the methodical pace of garden work that opens up God’s ministry to our minds and our moving forward in life.
For example, recently I retreated to the backyard after our college daughter left for a summer camp job, one that will take her away for the whole season. I was prepared to mourn her loss when she left for freshman year, but now heartache unbalanced me all over again. Will I be undone with such sadness every summer? We have more children; will all their departures distress me like this? Ugh. What a terrible system, I moaned. I took my protest to the garden (of course), to prepare a new bed for onions, wailing and murmuring at the whole process of life changes like the Israelites in the Sinai Desert (Numbers 11:4-10).
While gathering the gumption to wrestle the work of turning over soil and mixing in compost (first requiring the overturn of my compost heap—another ugh!), a simpler task caught my attention. I’ll quickly plant my order of autumn crocus bulbs, the flowers that spring up after hot summers in the dry lands of the Bible.
The desert and the parched land will be glad; the wilderness will rejoice and blossom. Like the crocus, it will burst into bloom; it will rejoice greatly and shout for joy. Isaiah 35:1-2
I hunted for some pots to plant them in, amused through my sorrow as I realized that with my forgetfulness in watering pots, these will soon resemble the parched Promised Land! A small smile emerged and soon I remembered the joy God’s Word communicates in seeing a lifeless stretch of earth burst into bloom. Thoughts drifted to our daughter and the burst of life she exemplifies. Filled with dynamic beauty and enthusiasm, she brings energetic gladness wherever she goes. I thought about the families she would meet at camp, greeted by her joy…and in an instant I glimpsed her life’s charge, to bloom deserts, to impart rejoicing into weary hearts….and I didn’t feel like crying any more. I was gently renewed, my heart built up in the thoughts of flowers soon to blossom and the beauty of our daughter’s budding life. The pots all planted, I left the onion bed for another day.
In this manner, I have come to see my commonplace suburban plot set against the backdrop of the Bible lands; the garden I keep is common ground between my daily life and the epic tales of truth and wisdom in God’s Word.
Yes, I believe!
Photo Caption: © 2012 Shelley S. Cramm Autumn crocus planted in pots bring Isaiah’s rejoicing! Isaiah 35:1-2
Devotions on autumn crocus and Planting Pots can be found in the NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible on page a-24-25