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Sunday, June 20, 2010

Growth is Found Deep in the Garden

”Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress.”

Psalm 4:1 KJV

No matter where I am in my faith, I will always need to meet Jesus in the garden of my heart every day. Some days I find that I just need Jesus to love on me, comfort me, dry my tears, and reassure me of his love for me. Another day I may have a need to tell God how awesome I think he is and express my gratitude to him for all of my many blessings. Some days Jesus asks me to go deeper into the garden with him so that I can listen to his voice and learn more of his ways. Other days I need to fall down before him and surrender my will to his will for my life. It is on days like that when I will experience a deep indescribable peace, as I surrender to his perfect will for me.

Today it is occurring to me that it is easy to ask God for all sorts of things that others need, but it is rather difficult to look inside my own heart and address what it is my own spirit needs. I believe that when we do accept Jesus’ invitation to go deeper into the garden with him he will tell us amazing things about our self and minister to our spirit in astounding ways.

It is deep inside the garden where Jesus will address the boulder of fear in my life. His plan is to totally remove the boulder and in its place plant tulips of trust and lilies of peace. It is in the depth of the garden where Jesus will point out the thistles and weeds that are destined to destroy the garden. These are the ugly weeds of pride and anger, and the thistles of control and selfishness. In the place of those unsightly weeds and thistles Jesus has a vision and a plan for planting beautiful flowers of humility and forgiveness.

As I walk and talk with Jesus I find my self uncomfortable as I am forced to face my sinful attitudes and behavior. I begin to squirm. I become frustrated, and then I resort to tears. At times there are enough tears to water the entire garden! But Jesus, the Master Gardner simply says, “Why are you throwing such a fit?” Through my sobs I am finally able to spit out the words, “Because I can’t do this! I can’t forgive, I can’t give up my control, I can’t turn loose of my anger!” Then Jesus puts his comforting arms around me and he reminds me, “Paula, I know you can’t, but my Holy Spirit within you can and he will help you accomplish the task. You only need to ask. I promise that I will give you my grace and it will be all that you need.”

I then ask in prayer for God’s grace to do whatever I feel is impossible. I know God will withhold no good thing from me and I know that peace, trust, humility and forgiveness are all good things. So according to his promise, I ask in confidence and Jesus supplies the strength that I need. Because of my sinful nature I am naturally an ungracious person but Jesus gives me his all sufficient grace to help me accomplish what I cannot do in my own strength.

I leave the garden knowing that God has a plan for my life. He wants to enlarge the garden plot of my life. His plan is to plant an abundance of beautiful flowers for his glory. I am confident that God has begun the beautification process of making my heart a sanctuary of love and peace. Even in my distress, I am very confident that God will enlarge me. The touch of the Master Gardner is always beautiful even in the hardest times of surrender.


When was the last time you visited the garden?

Did you pray for others or did you pray for yourself?

Were you reluctant to go deeper into the garden?

What happened in the deep part of the garden?

How did you feel when you left the garden?


Dear Lord,

I thank you that you love me enough to ask me to go with you into the deepest part of the garden. I must admit I dread those visits! God you always seem to ask the impossible of me when I am there. Yet you have promised me you will give me the grace that I will need to enlarge my garden. I’m ashamed when I have a melt down, but I am more ashamed of the times when I leave the garden without your peace. Forgive me. Help me to learn that I am only prolonging the inevitable. That before too many days pass you will again call me back into the depths of the garden. We will again address the same issue. Lord I pray that I will learn that I can shorten the agony in my life by relinquishing to you sooner opposed to later. God I know that fear, hate, control, selfishness, anger, and pride only drag me down and never lift you up. Lord please forgive me and enlarge my heart for your purposes in my life.

In Your Name I pray. Amen.