by Don Neighbours
Weeds in the garden
My favorite season of the year has to be spring! Maybe it’s because after the gray deadness of winter, the bright color and new life of spring are a welcome contrast. Or perhaps it’s because we know that when spring arrives, the days will be getting longer, and the temperatures will be growing warmer. Whatever the reason, I like springtime! Some of the things I like best are those beautiful yellow daffodils that are among the first flowers to bloom in the garden.
Did you ever notice the cleanness of daffodils? I don’t mean they don’t have dirt on them but they stand out so clearly in the flowerbed because the weeds haven’t come up yet in the brisk early spring temperatures. In a perfect world there wouldn’t be weeds. There would be sunshine and gentle rain and healthy plants—but no weeds. In a perfect world…but we don’t live in a perfect world yet. We live in this world and this world has weeds, lots of them. Every year my wife, who loves to work in her gardens, spends hours digging and pulling and spraying those gluttonous weeds that will consume the garden if she doesn’t. It seems the flowers have to bloom in between the weeds!
Weeds in our lives
Not only do we not live in a perfect world, but we don’t live with perfect people! Have you noticed how imperfect the people in your world are? Especially the person whose picture is on your driver’s license! And in addition to an imperfect world filled with imperfect people, we are members of an imperfect local church!
The weeds in our world cause worldwide problems like wars, famines, financial crises, false religions, and mass confusion of all kinds. The weeds in our lives cause personal problems like fear, greed, lust, anger, envy, hatred, and the like. The weeds in our local churches cause problems like strife, gossip, slander, unfaithfulness, rebellion, ungodliness, and more.
If you put all that together, you have a world and people and local churches with big problems, with stress, with pressure to just give up! But did you know that none of the above problems have taken God by surprise? Do you understand that Christians have good reason to rejoice in the midst of all the problems in the world, and in their lives, and in their local churches? Has it sunk in, down to your toes, that God is not just a Holy Observer in our lives, but that He is working in our lives—and He works through our circumstances and even our problems? Every one of God’s people in the Bible had problems and lived with dysfunctional families, and God used them and God led them and God blessed them anyhow!
I think the prophet Habakkuk (huh-BAK-uhk) got it right! He understood why what he had to rejoice about overpowered what he had to worry about. Habakkuk 3:17-18 says, “Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior.”
Christian, we have an eternal relationship with God. Not like we have a relationship with a distant relative—but with our Father. Not an earthly, imperfect father, but with the Father who created us, knowing we would fall into sin. Who not only made us but also made a plan for our lives and a plan to save us. We have, in the words of Habakkuk, a relationship with “God my Savior.” That doesn’t mean that He makes all the problems go away in this imperfect world, but that He makes a way for us to bloom in between the weeds.
Just haul off, right there in the middle of the weeds, and thank God for loving you and for being your Savior! And thank Him that His salvation is more than enough to handle the weeds in the garden of your life!