I was harvesting from my garden today. I love gardening. It relaxes me to work the soil. There is just something about getting my hands dirty and caring for a garden that brings me closer to God. There are so many spiritual insights and lessons that the Holy Spirit impresses upon me as a work my garden. For instance, seen from a distance, a garden doesn’t look that complex. If you were to look at my garden from a distance you would see six garden boxes that are 4′ x 8′ long. You would see different kinds of plants planted in each box.
This year I planted watermelons, green beans, tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, lettuce, cantaloupe, broccoli and green peppers. A decent garden to be sure but not that great of a variety. As you approach the garden however, you’ll observe more details. Unpicked weeds, bees flying around, moths perhaps. Slow down some more and you’ll may see spiders like the beautiful garden spider I saw today that had a bright yellow abdomen. Look under the leaves of my broccoli plants and you may see worms. Look closely at the soil and you could see any number of crickets, grasshoppers or ants. Any healthy effective garden will have a mix of pests and the insects that feed on these pests. A healthy garden is incredibly complex. If I tried to take in all the complexity at once it would soon overwhelm me. God isn’t like me however. He can both be present in the moment and at the same time be totally aware of the movements and presence of infinite complexity without being overwhelmed.
My life feels very complicated at times. As I write this my wife isn’t in the best of health. She has nothing life threatening but nevertheless it is always present. I have three wonderful children but at the age of 10, 8 and 6 they can certainly be a handful for both my wife and I at times. I am employed as a pastor of two churches, I am also currently the coordinator of the eastern Ontario ministerium of pastors. Besides all these cares, I need to keep an eye on my mother and be there for her as well as make sure she’s well taken care of. In other words, there are a lot of wheels turning at once. If I try to think of all these things and make sense out of all of them at once, I’m overwhelmed. God is difference however. He can run the entire universe, know everything there is to know, make sure His will is being carried out throughout his creation and yet never break a sweat. God is so far and away more capable and amazing than I or even all humanity put together.
So why do I worry and sweat the small stuff of my life? Because I forget. I forget how nothing that happens to me surprises God. How God saw everything that would happen to me before he created the world. The Bible tells me that he saw me and chose me before the foundation of the world.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us[b] for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will…” – Ephesians 1:3-5
Lately, I’m coming to realize that I don’t spend enough time thinking about, talking about and meditating on God’s amazing qualities. I often talk about God in general as a pastor but I’m not concentrating enough on his special qualities and keeping them front and centre regularly. This is the very essence of worship. Praising God for who he is and what he has, is and will do. Pointing others to his goodness and kindness and gentleness. Blessing God’s heart by submitting to him, obeying him and encouraging those around me to do likewise. Much of the book of Psalms is about these kind of praises.
“For great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised; he is to be feared above all gods. For all the gods of the peoples are worthless idols, but the Lord made the heavens. Splendor and majesty are before him; strength and beauty are in his sanctuary. Ascribe to the Lord, O families of the peoples, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength! Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name; bring an offering, and come into his courts! Worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness; tremble before him, all the earth!” – Psalms 96:4-9
I encourage you to take time to slow down. Smell the roses. Admire God’s beautiful nature. Think about all the good things in your life right now. Let God take your burdens and just sit down and spend time in His presence. Trust me, He’s worth it.