Tuesday, April 29, 2008
A Beggars Garden
I have been shameless, desirous of beauty, but lacking the means to provide it. My garden is little, but I want it to be fat, overflowing with lush plantings, rich in color, bursting with life.
Yes, I've been pouring over gardening magazines and books, yearning for that perfect outdoor refuge in my own backyard...mature trees, embraced where ground meets trunk by bluest flowers of periwinkle laid on beds of green. Flagstone paths leading from our stone patio, to the old gabled shed. Follow the grass to a small gathering of shrubs and our spruce tree, then the canna lilies reaching for sky beside. Gathered in front of the lilies are patches of rhubarb and tall stands of shasta daisies, with other ground covers creeping in between. The pool is somewhere in the middle of the yard, a silent promise of relief on scorching days (Thank you Ev!). Over to the right the swings sway in the breeze awaiting little bodies, feet thrusting out and screeches of laughter as they pump high toward the clouds...little rockets set to fly.
Then the children's garden, rocks to dig in, stumps to climb or sit on and a small patch of earth with flag stones through and wood chips on, to plant and tend their choice of greenery.
Some of this is real and some of it hoped for, but I have become a beggar, emailing gardening friends, and Mum, asking for cuttings from their gardens, and they have supplied. And one I didn't request from gave. I came home Saturday evening from a friend's with buckets of irises, rhubarb (yeah!!!), periwinkle, hollyhocks, daffodils and lavender. What a delicious combination. I was stunned at the bounty and overwhelmed at God's provision.
My garden may not look like the ones in the magazine yet, but that's ok. I am abundantly blessed and can see through the eyes of faith what is going to unfold.
Sort of what our Father must see in us perhaps. He sows seeds, plants lavishly and waits, watches with eyes that already see the outcome before it is matured. He tends and prunes. He is the gardener and we the soil, the fruit of the Spirit the anticipated harvest.
I am amazed at the generosity of God. I can provide nothing for this garden. I come as a beggar hoping for a response to my outstretched hand. This week I came away richer than I could imagine. The work is all His. We ask in our lack. And He says "Before they call I will answer; while they are still speaking I will hear. Isaiah 65:24 NIV
We come to the banqueting table without money to pay, yet He says in Isaiah 55:1-3,6-13
..."Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;
and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David.
.....Seek the Lord while He may be found; call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the Lord, and he will have mercy on him, and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the Lord.
As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.
As the rain and the snow come down from heaven,
and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.
You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and hills will burst into song before you, and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord's renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed. (NIV)
Tend me Lord Jesus. I want to yield a bounty for You. Your patience and pruning are what I need. I fix my eyes on You, for You are the author and finisher of my faith.