Have you ever thought you were the one helping with the "landscaping" of another's life ? As a mom, a wife, a friend? Or maybe as a mentor to a member of your church? You felt like there was a little piece of life that you kinda-sorta had figured out, and so you decide that you might be able to be the one who's doing the helping instead of being helped? Then suddenly, you realize YOU are being dug down into- landscaped in this entirely new, raw, painful way- and there's a gaping wound pouring out junk you didn't even know was there?
So you say, Yes Lord, and He begins a great big new work in YOU...
Tending the soil of my soul is a habit of mine, a habit I pursue because I've learned that being the rocky soil or the blistering-sun soil or the thorn-covered soul is a poor gig. The seeds of salvation, character, and faith are smothered, choked, and scorched. So, I tend and cultivate my soil with His Word, as often and fiercely as this crazy life allows.
In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the word, making a salvation-garden of your life. James 1:21
But sometimes, He takes over, and he lays down into me with his axe and hoe and tiller to tear up all the roots and weeds that lay just below the surface- the ones I was trying to just work and grow around.
No. He is not a shortcut, short-changing God. He is faithful and visceral in his tenacity to landscape us. Not just surface-deep, but soul-deep. He knows that, left to our own devices, we will make a good effort, but we will dig around and grow around the deep, hard rocks and long-buried stumps that may be too hard to unburden alone.
Not the Master Gardener. He reaches right down, past the prettily-tended surface and rips it all up: Making a huge mess of everything... Making sure his little garden is capable of having the deepest roots into the richest soil to reap the greatest harvest possible.
He's not satisfied with good-enough. He asks us, in humility, to hand him the tools and let him have a go at the pieces we just cannot or will not move ourselves. And so he makes a mess of things while fixing our hidden messes.
But, as in all things he does, it is for our own good. It is because He loves us. It is necessary and needful and painful and not-pristine but it is beautiful.
Everything is tilled up, my guts are aching, and I'm challenged to my core. But I see a shoot... No. Several shoots- little tender vegetation that sprang right up with his touch. Shoots that have been waiting for fresh, deeply enriched, oxygenated soil. Soil that only HE can reach.
I see that this big mess he's dug up and turned over inside of me has revealed new seed, new life, new growth and a few more pieces of long-dead refuse has been exposed and disposed of.
He is cultivating the very depths of my soul, and making a salvation-garden of my life. He is a good, good Gardener.