I was sitting here in my kitchen, working, when I noticed the grinding whirr of a lawnmower outside. A very familiar sound of summer—it’s grass cutting time. I live in a condo, so I am not the one who has to take on that responsibility (thankfully), but whoever holds that responsibility around here does it faithfully. Or else!
Or else, what? Well, likely most of us have seen the effects of a lawn that has been neglected, whether because of some problem with the service provider or because of our own very good and acceptable reasons (of course!). We know that grass left uncut not only continues to grow, but soon becomes unruly, appears to be neglected, and threatens to turn the whole community into an eyesore. Then, when someone does try to come in and cut it, after it’s a foot tall or more, it can become a nightmare to handle, as now the grass is full of weeds and often too long to cut using normal methods.
Anything that grows needs special care in order to grow properly, display beautifully, and reach its fullest potential. Grass must be cut, trees must be pruned, and hair must be trimmed. And we know that when we ourselves display these things to onlookers, we generally desire for them to appear that they have been cared for very well. (Very, very well in the case of Mr. Don’t-Walk-on-My-Lawn-or-Else!)
Why then is it that we find it hard to understand that God, who loves us with a much more intense love than we have for any of those things, would want us to undergo his “special gardening treatments” so that we may grow properly, display beautifully, and reach our fullest potential? Why do we complain when He works on us to weed out the negative influences, trim the unfruitful branches, and smooth out the rough edges?
Yes, going under the loving care of the Master Gardener can sometimes leave us feeling uneasy, but if we keep in mind that God has an ultimate purpose and plan for our lives, the challenges we may be facing might seem just a bit more bearable. If we can look forward to Him pouring out His Living Water and nurturing us with His Word, we might be able to look past our temporary trials to the end result—a fruitful existence cultivated by God Himself. So let us take comfort in the midst of our trials, resting in the fact that God chooses to grow us through His discipline and love rather than neglect us and allow us to grow into an eyesore.
Yes, anything that grows needs love. And God is that love–the only True Love, who knows where we each began and how He intends to grow us up. No, things won’t always be perfect—there may even be some “brown patches” or “tough weeds” that threaten to corrupt the beauty of our “spiritual lawns.” But God is in control. He knows just what to do to keep our situations from turning from “nice and neat” to “nightmarish.”
So when we are trimmed, tried, and tested by any number of difficult growing conditions, let’s also prepare proudly for our triumph over desperate situations as God’s loving hands tend to us and prepares to display us to for His glory, so that others may view us and want to know more about His loving care.
In what ways have you experienced God’s gardening techniques–trimming and pruning?