During prayer this morning, I began to visualize our spiritual lives as a garden. I saw a great hand, and in it was a clump of dirt surrounding a small green plant. On the ground was a patch of greenery. The hand was reaching down, hovering above it, seemingly waiting for something. But what? Thoughts of this began to flow through my mind – – what does this mean? I grabbed a piece of paper and started writing…
Let’s liken our spiritual lives to a garden. Those who continually seek to deepen their relationship with God have a fuller, more thriving one than those who barely work at it. The Word is the seed, and God’s Spirit is the water. Every experience serves to fertilize our garden, strengthening the plants and multiplying the blossoms.
Trials are evidenced by the storms that shower hard rain and hail, even battering our gardens with strong wind. Experiences such as these either destroy or toughen, as evidenced by the plants. Wimpy ones that have slim stems cannot handle these trials; they are bent and broken, their blossoms torn and shattered. The hardy plants stand tall. While they may appear a little battered, the blossoms remain. If they could speak, maybe they would say “Wow, did you see the size of that hail? I made it! I survived! I refused to bend and break. My Creator did a work in me, and I will not let Him down!”
Every experience that we have serves to broaden our garden. God’s intention is for us to continually learn from His Word, and then to apply it to our lives. Sometimes, we learn His truths in bits and pieces. At other times, Jesus showers it upon us like rain falling in powerful droves. He presents revelation in different forms, and when He is in it, every form is valid. The importance is first understanding the difference between revelation and falsehood. Does His Word claim it to be so? Then, we must choose to accept what He is trying to teach us. Whatever our trial, experience, or lesson, we must be willing to ask the Lord, “What are you trying to teach me?” And then, if we truly want to be submitted to His leading, we must be willing to accept His answer.
Refusal to listen to God’s nudging, however it presents itself, puts our garden in jeopardy. It will most likely cause us to stop reading the Word and refuse fresh seed. We may stop praying, which then cuts of the flow of the Spirit from being able to water our soil. The fertilizers, including the fruits and gifts of the Spirit, are no longer sought. In time, our spiritual garden is in peril, and our blossoms are threatened with extinction. Ultimately, should we continue to refuse God’s help and direction, our soil will be hard and cracked, causing the seeds and plants to completely die, and the once-thriving garden will no longer even exist.
Conversely, those who are willing to accept the battering of spiritual and physical storms, choosing to trust in the Lord’s strength and provision through His Word and Spirit, will overcome and ascend to heights in their God-relationship never-before imagined. Their garden will not only include single-blossom plants, but creeper vines and ground-covering wonders that spread into other people’s gardens, sharing their beauty and vitality in ways never dreamed.
It comes down to our personal choice – to grow, or not to grow. That is the question.
For as the rain comes down, and the snow from the heavens, and does not return there, but waters the earth, and makes it bring out and bud, and give seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so shall My Word be, which goes out of My mouth; it shall not return to Me void, but it shall accomplish what I please, and it shall certainly do what I sent it to do. (Isaiah 55:10-11, MKJV)
Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. Be not wise in thine own eyes: fear the LORD, and depart from evil. It shall be health to thy navel, and marrow to thy bones. Honour the LORD with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: So shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine. (Proverbs 3:5-10, KJV)
Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent Me, and from finishing His work. You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.” (John 4:34-38, NLT)