I’ve been digging in the dirt these last few days. Today I was moving right along, stomping the digging fork into the ground over and over again, when all of a sudden the fork didn’t go into the ground at all and I nearly fell off of it; more than once. After I looked around to see if anyone was watching, I laughed.
The small field next to our house was a garden years ago, and that is where we are gardening now. We laid out the first raised bed and began to work. Every few inches we sink in the digging fork and work it back and forth a few times. Then we sit and pull the weeds, grass, and clover. As I pull the weeds, I try to get as much of the root as possible, so it can’t grow back. Some weeds have shallow roots that pull right out, some grow deep and range far. Because it was once a garden the ground is soft and most roots are not too deep, so it was going fairly quickly. Until I got to the stump. You see, there is a large stump in the ground, right at ground level. The weeds cover it over so you can’t see it until you pull them away. Even when I saw the stump I didn’t realize how much ground it covered until I started trying to dig around it. And that’s when I fell off the digging fork; more than once.
As I sat turning dirt and pulling weeds, I began to think. I thought a lot about Jesus’ parable about the seeds and the different kinds of soil and, as usual, my mind wandered and God began to show me my life. Before I was even born God claimed me as His garden. He laid out the bed of my life and began to work it. Throughout all these years He has worked the soil (even put in some earthworms), planted good things, watered, and pulled out lots of weeds (some of them rather large). Today many of my sins are easily pulled up; the roots are shallow and with just a bit of stirring in my heart they pull right out. But there are some tough ones that leave a deep root even when the visible part is done away with, and those will grow back and have to be dealt with again. And of course new weeds will grow into my life as well, but if they are pulled quickly they won’t have time to grow deep into my heart.
Right in the middle of the garden of my life is a stump. It is sometimes covered over and invisible, but it’s still there, and it’s still in the way. It also seems to be a haven for weeds; they grow deep right down next to it and in it. The tree was cut years ago but the stump still scars the ground and makes it hard and unusable; only God knows how far the roots run. This stump is my sin nature. God will continue to dig it out, bit by bit, my whole life - softening the soil around it, enriching the dirt, pulling the new weeds that creep in and digging out the roots of the old weeds. As He goes God plants good things that will make this garden useful and beautiful. One day, at the very end of this life, God, the Master Gardener, will pull out this huge tree root of my sin nature forever. When that is gone, and the weed seeds and roots of Satan and this world can no longer influence me, there will be a beautiful garden indeed. What an awesome God we serve!
Rebecca A Givens, 04/2008