Yesterday I told you how I had a mind-blowing, yet very ordinary come-to-Jesus moment on my deck. In reality I’m writing this post minutes after posting that last one because to be honest…tomorrow I may feel like a fool for sharing any of this with anyone.
The truth I learned from Matthew 8:26 is that my faith is little (or weak) because I am fearful. Now to be clear, I get the whole “fear the Lord” thing. That’s not the same fear I struggle with. In that case “fear” is being used as respect or awe. I do fear the Lord in that way. I’m talking about fearing things that are not God. That’s wrong.
The analogy I got while looking at the neighbor’s garden is that my faith-life is a garden. The Bible is full of gardening references! In Genesis 1:8 it says, “The Lord God planted a garden..” This is a real garden, not an allegory, and gardens need tending to. In verse 15 it says, “And the Lord God took the man (Adam) and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it.” So basically, God not only provided the seed, but did the work to plant the garden and was expecting Adam to look after it.
In that I see that faith is like the seeds. God’s given them to me, and when I believed in His son Jesus, the Holy Spirit did the work of planting those faith seeds in the garden of my heart. He may have had to break up some really hard clumps of dirt to get those seeds planted in the good soil. Now comes the tending. The looking after.
I just have to pause here in my typing to share the daily verse text I just got! It’s Proverbs 2:3-5; “If you cry out for discernment, and lift up your voice for understanding, if you seek her as silver and search for her as for hidden treasures; Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God.” God speaks to us…sends rain to our dry faith-gardens. And it just started pouring rain here in Indiana. Not. Kidding. These are the moments when I know God sees me. He hears me. And most of all He cares about me. He cares about you.
So back to the tending. What do gardeners do to tend their gardens? They make sure the ground is watered (read the Word of God daily, go to church, spend time with people of like-faith, read what others have learned about God.) Sometimes God sends unexpected rains (like that text 🙂 ) to water your faith-garden and other times you have to seek out that Living Water yourself (like spending time on my deck reading scripture.) In looking after your garden you have to pull the weeds. I could write a BOOK on just pulling weeds from our faith-gardens! Recognize the weeds for what they are (fear, anger. pride) and pull them out. If you need help, seek out the Master Gardener or accept help from people He might send your way.
Now to what I saw yesterday from the cucumber plants. The cucumbers that grow on those plants can be used as food to sustain the ones who planted them (my neighbors) and others (me.) If I in my lethargy or rebellion, I choose not to pick the cucumbers, what happens to them? They start to shrivel up and die. They’re no longer tasty veggies I want to eat for lunch. Now they’re ugly, mushy, gross things on their way to drying up. If I realize what’s happening I can salvage the seeds to be planted. Get it?!? God doesn’t waste even our wastefulness. Even this “dry spell” I’m suffering through because of my own lack of tending to my garden, He will use!
I could write so much more. If you only knew how many books I’ve written in my head! I’m working on the fear of what would happen if I actually got them out of there and they became a reality. (SQUIRREL!) Now I’m thinking about who would do the art work, publishers, the time and work involved. Afraid its not worth trying for fear of failing. Clearly I’m a work (or should I say garden) in progress. As we all are.
To sum up: tend your garden. When you don’t know what to do to help your plants grow, ask the Master Gardener. When you let your garden go, don’t throw in the trowel! (hahaha…I just had to) Plant something new, water it, and watch it grow.