All the time, the pruning, and effort -- God thinks we are so worthwhile. Are we going to let God take care of us in His garden today?
The smell of chili spice wafted through the garden as I collected Sunday’s harvest into the upturned bottom half of my oversized shirt. I tiptoed around my backyard, feeling the cool earth between my toes as the morning sun kissed my face. In the kitchen, I peeled tomatillo husks and diced cherry bomb peppers as I looked out the window to the rest of the ripening patch. While the garden was once nothing more than a menagerie of seeds planted haphazardly in tilled soil, it is now where my labor was coming to fruition, literally. I was making my first “garden to table” recipe: a humble bowl of salsa.
As I chopped fresh spring onions, I pondered how much time had gone into this one bowl that was going to be eaten within 10 minutes. All the planning, planting, watering, pruning, bug-picking; yet I didn’t regret it. As “plant mom” as it sounds, the experience of cultivating life from seeds was invaluable. My eyes watered — not just from the onions — as I realized that that is how God feels about us.
All the time, the pruning, and effort — God thinks we are so worthwhile. We are His plants, and He is our Gardener; He is the one from whom we receive all our nourishment. We are the raspberries that He meticulously plants, prunes, stakes, and waters knowing that we will bear fruit through His love and care. Unlike raspberries, however, we have free will: We can elect to reject our Gardener’s care, cutting ourselves off from bearing fruit.
When I first came to the Faith, I had to envision God as my Gardener for His love to make any sense. Why would He want me, a wilting rose that showed no sign of coming back to life? I pictured my Gardener coming up to me, squatting down to reach my drooping stature as my petals brushed the earth between us.
He asked me one crucial question: Are you going to let me take care of you today?
From that point on, I grew alongside my relationship with God. He watered me daily, nourishing me with His love and staking me with a trellis of faith-filled friends, and I came back to life, blooming boldly into a scarlet rose.
Before enjoying my garden salsa with dinner, I made sure to be intentional in saying grace, not just for the physical nourishment of the food, but for the spiritual nourishment from God. Without Him, there would be no fruit. After all, could it be such a coincidence that Mary Magdalene mistook Jesus for the gardener after His Resurrection?
This is part of the series called “The Human Being Fully Alive” found here.