In front of my porch lies a little flower bed. There is a climbing rose known as Seven Sisters in the center. Every summer it covers itself with blood-red blooms and I never seem to have enough opportunities to enjoy its beauty. The Seven Sisters bush was already in place when we moved in; beside it, we added 3 more bushes known as Knock Out roses in varying shades of pink. Yes, I have a thing for roses.
Every year, as soon as the air becomes warm, I notice a creeping vine come up in different spots. If I don't catch it in time, it can and will completely surround my roses, choking their growth and blocking the sunlight from their limbs.
|(image by thephotohiker.com)|
This happened recently when I left town for several days. When I returned, the vine was everywhere, weaving itself in and around the roses, up the railing and wrapping over the decorative stones surrounding the bed. There were stalks a foot tall of another breed of weed (dandelions maybe? But surely not that tall...?) in one end, and the vine was even wrapping itself around them, weed entwined with weed. I started ripping it out piece by piece, catching a thorn in my bare palms from time to time. I kept at it, though, until I could finally see the mulch again.
While I was tugging and digging and cursing Adam and Eve (you know you've done it too!), I felt a soft touch, followed by that soft voice. You know, this is exactly what I do, too... No, I have to be honest. That wasn't really what I was thinking about at all.
You see, our lives are like a garden full of unique and beautiful flowers. He wants to walk through the garden every day, admiring the beauty of the life we are living. From time to time, vines of bitterness, bigotry, hatred, quick temper, impatience, sarcasm, etc. begin to sprout up here and there among the blooms. He notices these weeds and points them out, but being the gentleman that He is, He allows us to pull them out when we are ready. Sometimes the vines become too entangled and prevent His light from reaching us so the growth in our relationship with Him becomes hindered. It might take a while, but eventually the vines will overcome the garden and will kill us spiritually, if not physically as well. Thankfully, He is the Master Gardener and, if we allow Him, He will come into our garden and begin to pull the vines away from the flowers. He'll clear away all the noticeable evidence of the weed. But you see, if that's all we allow Him to do, the vine will inevitably come back.
The only reason I have to keep pulling away pieces of vine to protect my roses is because I haven't located the root. Somewhere in the soil, perhaps under my porch where I can't access it, is a root that keeps the vine coming back, no matter how much I rip away at it. Unless I remove that root, I'll be pulling vines until the day I die. The Gardener knows this, too, and wants to prevent the vines from returning so we can grow and flourish and be a beautiful display of how He can transform imperfection into impeccable. But we have to allow Him access to the root. We have to allow Him to dig deep enough to remove the cause of the __________ (<-- insert the name of your vine here). Yes, it's uncomfortable and yes, it might hurt, but it's worth it to have that beauty in the end.
Don't know if you have any vines? There may be one unnoticeable vine entangled with another, you won't know until you hit your knees and repent for allowing it to take root, then ask God to remove it and show you others and how to prevent them from taking root again. Ask Him to reveal scripture to read relating to your situation; write them on Post-Its and stick them everywhere- the bathroom mirror, cereal cabinet, refrigerator door, your steering wheel. Set reminders on your phone to go off periodically throughout the day. If you close this blog remembering nothing, remember that all is in vain without daily maintenance with the Gardener.
I hope this speaks to your heart.