Sunday, February 19, 2012

19th February

My garden is what you might call untended and a little wild; though over the years we’ve often worked quite hard at caring for it. It’s just a little too big for me to work nowadays as, although being narrow, it’s 80 metres long. At different times Jane and I almost lived outdoors, I loved it; but this past 9 months I really have completely ignored it. So it’s a bit of a mess, though my kids have helped with basic mowing and hedge cutting. Nonetheless at this time of year beauty springs out of the earth once more. Yes there’s a somewhat sparse scattering of yellow and purple crocus bulbs to compliment the few surviving snowdrops and surprisingly flourishing purple heather in my rockery. For many, many years we had a good show of mixed bulbs every spring until they gradually stopped coming. So three years ago Jane bought maybe 500 bulbs which we spent a happy few days planting, and the following spring they were spectacular. Last year very few resurfaced, and this year I see no sign whatsoever of daffodils and tulips even beginning to grow. Just a few crocuses. No idea what we’ve done wrong either. Maybe it’s the weather, maybe diseased or tired soil, maybe poor quality bulbs, maybe premature mowing? It’s a shame though as I like to see easily managed colour in the garden.

Anyway I’m grateful for and always surprised at the beauty that does quite simply burst out of my otherwise barren garden. My flower beds no longer have a trimmed border, actually they could almost be mowed at the moment; and the rockery is a mess with overlarge plants needing serious tlc. My greenhouse needs dismantling and shipping to the tip, and further down the garden has patently turned wild with 30’ high hedges. Funny thing is, the bulbs I planted there some 30 years ago still give a good show. Just can’t see them from near the house. I don’t deserve the beauty that is there, but there you go, I still get it.

In one sense my life is as barren as my garden, and I feel a bit of a wreck. I don’t suppose I’m that much fun to be with either, though I try to behave ‘normally’ when in company. But and it’s the most amazing BUT, the Lord still shows up in my life… day after day I know his presence, his comfort, his peace. And hope is right there at the centre of my thinking. I just know that he is working for good in all that I am and all that I do; I know that all is well and all will be well as I journey into the future. He deals with the weeds in my life, he neatly trims the borders and at times extends my boundaries. He causes fruitfulness where I deserve only barrenness. He’ll never let me go no matter how messed up my life seems. I have absolute confidence in the Bible as the infallible Word of God and the evidence I find there defines my faith journey. Jane died ‘in Christ’ and enjoys his perfect presence in heaven today. As long as my journey remains with him, one day I too shall meet the Lord Jesus face to face, surely the greatest joy for those who receive him as Saviour. And on that day I reckon Jane will not be too far away sharing in my delight.

Isaiah 61:3 ‘To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.’ (NLT)

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