"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest.”
Matthew 11:28 NIV
There are many places you can run to in the garden. The first place you may be inclined to run to in the garden is the wishing well. There have been times that I was so sure that Jesus would be there ready to grant my wish. Of course, he was always there but then, to my surprise, he would take me by the hand and say “walk with me.”
In my garden there are also many wonderful paths to follow with beautiful flowers and ferns growing along the pathway. As Jesus and I would walk in the garden, I would continue to pour out my heart out and beg and plead like a little child for the solution that I wanted. Then Jesus would gently say, “Sit with me awhile.”
Jesus would lead me to the bench found under the shade of the big oak tree in the middle of my garden. It was here that he did the talking and I listened. I needed this time to learn what was in his heart concerning me. Here Jesus explained to me that I needed to “wait.” While waiting Jesus has taught me how to trust his will, his plan, and his purposes.
On another day, in the garden Jesus and I may walk to the reflection pool. At the pool I look in and see that Jesus’ reflection is identically that of his Father. He encourages me to gaze into the pool. He asks me, “Paula, who do you see?” I replied, “Well me of course.” Jesus then begins to teach me, “Paula, when you look into the reflection pool you need to see me.” “Please understand that when you get the focus off of yourself and your problems you will then see and reflect me.” Jesus further explains that if I will do that, others will look at me and they will see him. Imagine that, Jesus’ reputation is either damaged or glorified through my actions and responses. You see, Jesus reflects the Father and his will, I am to reflect Jesus and his will.
After Jesus has prepared my heart on just the right day, he will lead me to the bridge that stands over the lake of trust, and he will now ask me to jump off the bridge of faith. He says, “You must do this alone but I will be in the water to catch you in my arms. You must trust me.” This is huge for me because I don’t even know how to swim! When I finally get up my nerve and make the plunge, I emerge from the water drenched but safe in his arms of faithfulness and love.
The last place in the garden where Jesus takes me to is the fountain of peace and joy. He invites me to drink freely. After I drink my thirst is satisfied and I am equipped to leave the garden because my mind is at peace and my heart if full of joy. As I leave the garden I have the sweet assurance that even though I leave the serenity of the garden the Gardner never leaves me!
Every time I enter the garden I find myself in the appropriate spot that is perfectly suited for that day. It may be at the wishing well, or on the pathway or the bench, it may be on the bridge of faith, the lake of trust, or at the fountain of peace and joy. All of those places have specific purposes for me. None of those locations are wrong and Jesus is always more than happy to meet me at my place of need.
Where are you in your garden?
Where do you need to go next?
Has there been a time that you have found peace and joy in the garden?
Thank you for always meeting me in the garden. You always know exactly where to find me. The location is not important to you. It is simply the fact that I came to you in the garden that brings you joy. Help me Lord to find my strength in you. Give me courage and desire to move on to the next beautiful spot in the garden where you will lovingly meet and teach me your ways.
In Your Name I pray. Amen.