This spring’s cold and cloudy climate in Oregon lasted longer than previous seasons. Though the calendar said we were into summer, apparently no one informed the weather. When the sun finally emerged and the rain put a lid on itself, I discovered my garden full of healthy weeds. My flowers stood shaking in their roots, the lack of sunshine evident in their paltry green leaves and emaciated stems. As I gave the intruding visitors an unfriendly yank from their place in the soil, it occurred to me that weeds must find ways to grow in darkness much like sin invades our lives when we stray from our source of light—God’s love.
Amid the creeping morning glory, the thistles and the pig weed, I gently separated the young flowering plants from their nasty neighbors. Though the rain had kept me from the garden for a few weeks, the invaders had taken root and staked their territory like Genghis Khan invading China. The plants I wanted to grow stood like dwarfs next to the ones I didn’t want. After a morning pulling, hoeing and shaking root balls, my garden returned to a healthier state, my back screaming from lack of use.
So do we, as Christians, let the weeds of sin invade our lives. We get busy, our schedules teeming with appointments, social events and temptations the world calls us to explore. Slowly we let our personal Bible study slide, our prayer life evaporate and our time with God wither. Our source of strength is choked out by the showers of life, our healthy souls shrivel up and stop growing.
Suddenly we find ourselves surrounded by things we never intended to be part of our existence. An exercise program that claims too much of our time…a television sitcom that we just can’t miss…a favorite group that meets during a time that used to be claimed by the Lord. Bible reading falls by the wayside.
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”(II Timothy 3:16, 17) We won’t be equipped to withstand the temptations of life if we aren’t communicating with the one who calls us. “Study to show thyself approved unto God,” the Bible says, “ a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.”(II Timothy 2:15). If we don’t read what God has written for us, how will we know Him? How will His truth be brought to the rest of the world?
Eradicating the offending elements takes time. The Bible says to “pray without ceasing” (I Thessalonians 5:17). We turn back to the source of our power, regain our prayer vigil and reclaim our personal worship time with God. “But when you pray,” the Bible says, “go into your room, and when you have shut the door, pray to the Father who is in the secret place.” (Matt. 6:6a) “and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.”
How often do we seek the quiet, still voice of God? Allow Him to touch us like the sun bathes the flowers? Let Him draw us up closer to Him like plants seeking the warmth of the sunshine? With diligent determination those time wasters that we allowed to take priority over our lives will withdraw and we’ll gain the power to put them in a more balanced place in our time.
God’s garden calls us to be vigilant to our task just like the garden in the backyard requires renewed effort on a daily basis. Our hearts can be in harmony if they are regularly tuned. The pig weed, thistles and morning glory snatching the life from our souls can be pulled from the soil of God’s flower bed, allowing us to bloom where we are planted, our hands stretched toward heaven, our stems strong and sure as we bask in the light of His love. “Let us not grow weary in well doing, for in due time we shall reap if we do not lose heart.”(Gal.6:9)