I am not thankful just because it is the season of thanksgiving in America. No, the gratitude I am experiencing goes much deeper. I am truly thankful to the core of my very being. I am thankful as one who has come back from the grave, and I have. And I am thankful as one who has been given a second chance when survival was impossible, for it was. God has rescued me.
Forty-four years ago, God spoke love and truth over my life. And in His love, He not only forgave me, but invited me to make an eternal covenant with Him by following in the way of Christ. And so, because of His faithfulness, I am very thankful. Without Christ, I would not have survived. How so? Frankly, our world is a cruel, dry, harsh place, with enemies – both spiritual and physical – on every side working and striving with much diligence for our destruction. And yet, Christ invites us to draw close in reverence and He will protect, nurture, prune, and dwell with us in His garden; planting His Kingdom.
In the very beginning, God initiated His love story in a garden of such vast beauty that it is hard for us to envision. In it, the first humans had only to make love and enjoy it; work and enmity were virtually unknown, for a season. And then came rebellion. They, as we decided there was no need of God and further, we couldn’t trust Him for our good. But, we were wrong… So, it is no wonder that God calls to all of us to return to the peace and hope only found in His garden. For being invited into His garden, I am thankful.
More than anything, I love to work in the garden. There is no greater exhilaration than holding rich, loamy soil in my hands as bulbs or new flowers are tenderly placed into it. Growing the best blossoms, sunshine and rain, calm and storms and much manure are needed. Today in my devotional, I read about working in the Kings garden. I am exceedingly thankful because God still calls me to work in His garden. I believed that God had banned me from the work in His garden. For a gardener, there was no reason to live if you cannot work in the garden. And yet, here I am. I am still breathing. Clearly, this perception was not true. I now know that my thoughts and some past acquaintances who reinforced this idea, were wrong. The shame given me, like manure and storms will produce a sweeter fragrance for God.
I have reprinted God’s words for you. Maybe today, you too believe that you do not have a place in God’s garden. This is a lie. Perhaps take a moment, gaze upon Gods word for you and meditate. In time, you too will come back to His garden to gaze upon His beauty.
Anywhere and everywhere we may dwell ‘with the king for his work’. We may be in a very unlikely and unfavorable place for this; it may be in a literal country life, with little enough to be seen of the ‘goings’ of the King around us; it may be among hedges of all sorts, hindrances in all directions; it may be furthermore, with our hands full of all manner of pottery for our daily task.
No matter! The King who placed us ‘there’ will come and dwell there with us; the hedges are right, or He would soon do away with them. And it does not follow that what seems to hinder our way may not be for its very protection; and as for the pottery, why that is just exactly what He has seen fit to put into our hands, and therefore it is, for the present, ‘His work’.” (Frances Ridley Havergal, Streams in the Desert, page 347.)
Go back till the evening falls,
And bind thy lilies and train thy vines,
Till for thee the Master calls.
Go make thy garden fair as thou canst,
Thou workest never alone;
Perhaps he whose plot is next to thine
Will see it and mend his own.
I will be praying for you, today, my dear friend, while I work in the King’s garden. I am planting for future blossoms i.e. fragrant daffodils and beautiful mountain crocus.