The other day I was out gardening, which normally doesn’t happen because 1. I don’t have a garden and 2. I don’t really know what “gardening” entails. Really I was filling a role which no one else was able to fill at the time. I was at my in-laws and a big pile of dirt needed to be moved from one side of the garden to the other. I guess that would constitute as gardening, right? It sounds better that way.
So, what started out as a crisp October afternoon turned into what felt like a sauna in July. The sun came out, all wind seemed to cease and the moisture in the air was palpable. What made it worse was that it felt as though in this one particular spot in the garden, dirt straight from New Mexico had been imported and no rain had touched it in 14 years. Maybe I’m being a little dramatic, but after hours of shoveling and wheeling and dumping and shoveling and wheeling and dumping some more, the New Mexican dirt finally started looking a little more Ohioan and the pile was fairly non-existent. The original goal had finally been reached.
In the midst of all this, I continued to find unique-looking rocks in and around the original pile. My mother-in-law referred to this as her “rock garden,” which meant that as she found rocks she liked she tossed them in the same general area. The rocks, in their rareness, were beautiful; some were large, flat and smooth, others were small and textured. As I found them while digging, I made a pile of them. Finally when I was finished, when the dirt had been overturned and the weeds pulled, I set the rocks to make an outline right next to the sidewalk. Instead of being haphazardly thrown, they were now on display for all to see, clearly there with a purpose.
While walking that last batch away, I continued to look back at my work, proud to call it mine. I was pleased with the work I had done and was confident in it. All of a sudden it hit me that this is the way God looks at us. He looks at us with pride and love, proud to call us his own. If I can look at this garden in the middle of nowhere Ohio and be filled with satisfaction from my work on it, how much more can the Creator of the universe look at me and feel the same way?
Isaiah 64:8 says, “But now, O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay, and you are our potter; we are all the work of your hand.” God made us and formed us. He is constantly doing work in us. Rain, snow, weeds and critters will affect this newly renovated part of the garden. Things of this world will find their way in and the garden itself cannot get them out. A Gardener must be there to do the work–a work that is not always going to be comfortable and easy. Sometimes the dirt is hardened and the rocks are deep.
The one question I’m left with: am I willing to let God till my life to expose the beautiful rocks?