by Deanne Baum
What lessons can we learn from gardens and gardening to help us in preparation for God’s Kingdom?
Photo by Roger Nettles
My parent’s front yard was always meticulously maintained with manicured lawns bereft of even thea suggestion of a weed. The neighbors would scratch their heads and comment on how they just could not understand why their lawns did not look as good as Dads. My father was in sales but I think he could have maintained the cricket pitch at The Adelaide Oval just as well as the professional groundskeepers did.
Every year as a child one of my designated tasks was to sweep and rake the leaves in our front garden. The leaves then had to be manually transferred by hand into a large bin. We had at least a dozen Poplar trees – beautifully tall and leafy, but I never thought they were worth all the effort. The wind would scatter the leaves haphazardly about just as I was about to pick them up. Very frustrating! It was enough to put me off gardening for life. All that time and effort having to be repeated! It really upset me when Dad would just stand there and laugh.
Today, my temporary garden consists of a small patch of artificial turf which never needs mowing, weeding, or watering but it gives me the desired look of grass. I would like natural grass but I really cannot afford the time and money to devote to it. In the backyard, there are a couple of trees which are easily blown off with my electric blower.
Instead of all the back-breaking work and calloused hands, I derive great satisfaction and pleasure from tending to a myriad of hanging baskets with bright colorful flowers and other plant life. The act of nurturing and watching new buds form is a real delight. It is so satisfying and pleasing to be in God’s creation tending to my little garden. Invariably my thoughts drift to the original garden – the Garden of Eden.
Eastward in Eden
God created and planted the idyllic Garden of Eden. The garden was exquisite in every way and contained “every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil”. (Genesis 2:9) Genesis 2:8-15 tells us of the garden where Adam and Eve lived. God’s garden was a perfect paradise for the first humans to enjoy – replete with every animal, tame in nature.
One can only imagine the beautiful array of colors from the fragrant plants, the gorgeous aromas emanating from the fruit trees, and the warm breezes wafting these scents. Abundant bird life with elegant flight and superb sounds to delight the ears. Trees tall, strong and diverse in design. Clean fresh air, pristine and bereft from pollution. The water as clear as crystal – the trees, ripe with fruit. The garden would be a veritable feast to behold, filling every sense.
For the garden to grow and flourish God organized a great water source which would provide abundant hydration for the of the life contained therein. The garden was a haven, a healthy environment for growth and nourishment and God provided invigorating satisfying work for Adam and Eve by having them tend to the garden and keep it in the excellent condition to which it was formed.
God our Master Gardener and Landscaper
We have all heard gardening terms. We can relate to these terms on a physical and spiritual level by understanding that we need to be nourished, watered, pruned, shaped, and tended to so we can produce an abundance of good fruit (Galatians 5:22-23) All under the steady and watchful guidance of our Creator (Ezekiel 36:9).
As Psalm 1:1-3 so eloquently states “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and in His law, he meditates day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper”.
Meditating on God as the Master Gardener who provides all our needs (Matthew 6:25-33) and the one who shelters us from harm and ensures our protection from enemies. (Psalm 31 and 91) We can take great comfort in knowing just how much we are loved and desired by Him. Conversely, scripture tells us that God provides us with a barrier from the forces of evil (Job 1:6-12).
We can read the Bible and see that in Revelation 19 Jesus Christ will return to earth in triumphant victory and Satan will be bound for 1,000 years. There will be a new Jerusalem (read Revelation 21:9-21), there will be “a pure river of the water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the middle of its street, and on either side of the river, was the tree of life, which bore twelve fruits, each tree yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations” (Revelation 22:1-2).
We will take part in the repair and restoration of all things as told in Isaiah 58:11-12. The restoration of all things will result in joy and healing to all nations in all lands (Isaiah 55:12-13). In the book of Jeremiah 31:12 we can read that “…Their souls shall be like a well-watered garden, and they shall sorrow no more at all”. Take comfort in Isaiah 51:3 as God tells us the wilderness will be made like Eden where all people from all nations will dwell together in harmony in an international Garden of Eden spanning the infinite universe eternally. We shall offer praise to the LORD from creation as outlined in Psalm 148 forevermore.