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Sunday, January 17, 2010

If Only I Had a Green Thumb!

“Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines;

though the olive crop fails, and the fields produce no food,

...yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will be joyful in God my Savior.

The sovereign Lord is my strength!”

Habakkuk 3:17-19a NIV

I love to garden. During the winter months I find myself surrounded by my garden books and seed catalogs. I begin sketching out flower beds and dreaming about what I am going to plant in the spring.

I have to admit that at times I get frustrated because my thumb is not as green as I wish it to be. For me it is a year by year experiment, always wondering which flowers will flourish and which ones will be a disappointment. Sometimes I plant and the results are absolutely beautiful! The plant that I have lovingly cared for is all I could have imagined and hoped for. When the plant blooms it is a vision of delight! Other times my efforts are destroyed by lack of rain, weeds, pestilence, poor soil, wrong light exposure, not enough nutrients, or the deer invite themselves to dine in my garden. I must confess that sometimes sheer neglect on my part has left me with nothing but a dead plant!

Today I am reflecting on the fact that all of my efforts to put my life in perfect order seem to always fail. My thumb is never green enough to produce a perfect garden of inner beauty and my self efforts are never enough to produce a sinless life. I have come to realize that just like neglecting a real garden it is also possible to neglect my spiritual garden. When this occurs, the once vibrant plants of love and grace will end up dying from neglect.

As I think about the imperfections of my garden, I am reminded that a very long time ago God desired that humanity live in a perfect garden. On the day that sin entered the garden that God had planted in Eden life fell from its perfect condition to an imperfect condition. Because sin entered the world, the perfect life ended and trouble began. Today I am reminded that there will always be times in my life when things are not so good. The fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines. There will be times when my crops will fail and my garden will be parched and ugly. But I know that God is only a prayer away. The Master Gardner always stands ready to breathe his forgiveness and grace into my life causing it once again to flourish.

I know perfectly well that life has not always been fair and there have been many times when life has dealt me some hard blows. I admit that sometimes I don’t feel much like rejoicing. Yet I know that I can always have at least one reason to rejoice.

Because of sin, Adam and Eve were cast from the garden. Unfortunately, all of humanity was banned from the garden as well. But now, God has provided a way for us to be restored. God sent his son, Jesus to redeem all of us. If you have not done so already, God wants you to invite Jesus Christ to come into your life and in a very personal way Jesus wants to make your heart his home. Because of this, I always have reason for rejoicing no matter what my circumstances may be. I hope you have accepted Jesus Christ, because if you have, this is your reason for rejoicing too!


Where do you sense difficulty or failure creeping into your life?

Has Jesus Christ become you personal Savior?

If so, are you rejoicing that God has given you a second chance to be with him forever?


Dear God,

Thank you that you have provided a way that I may come back into your presence. Help me to choose to not give in to despair during the difficult times of my life, but rather to give you my challenges. Please turn my sorrow into rejoicing because of the second chance that you have given me.

In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.