This weekend, I spent some time in the garden I planted earlier this spring. I’m really happy with the outcome this year, so far.
I’ve already harvested two okra pods. I also have broccoli, zucchini, mint and basil in the picture above (although, you can’t see the mint because the zucchini leaves are in the way. The marigolds are there to deter as many pests as possible, especially around some of the newer plants I’ve never planted before. Most of my garden came from seed, with the exception of the mint and basil. I’ve been really happy with the progress.
As I pulled weeds this weekend, I thought about the parable of the sower found in Matthew 13. I think this is one of my favorite parables because it’s one that includes the explanation with it. In particular, of course, I was thinking about the seeds that fell among the weeds – the people who heard the word but the cares of the world and riches choke out the word. I could see a lot of similarities between the weeds in the parable and the weeds I pulled.
Weeds can run long, deep, and connected. In my garden, the most abundant type of weed is actually the grass from our yard. While I use raised beds, somehow the grass finds its way into my garden, starting usually from the outside and winding around the plants. When I pull one part slowly and carefully, I can end up pulling a long weed that goes deep underground, like this one:
Just like this weed, worry creeps in from the outside and plants its roots everywhere. It’s never just one worry, but all the things that worry will affect. If it’s getting a job, it’s also supporting your family, maintaining your relationships, and being able to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Everything is connected in that one strand. Every worry affects everything else. It also runs deep, and it’s painful to pull out. There have been times I have thought about just leaving a weed there because the roots are just so deep. Just like worry though, it’s better to rip it out because the roots will just go deeper if left alone.
Weeds can be hidden under big leaves. I didn’t plan it this way, but most of my garden this year contains plants with huge leaves like this one:
Most of the time, a candid look at the garden might not show many weeds, but a closer look, a careful lift of one of the larger leaves will expose the weeds underneath. Sometimes it just seems easier to look at other people candidly and think that they have it all together. We don’t take the time to truly find out what is going on underneath. And how many times do I hide my own weeds in my life? However, just like in my garden, those weeds will never be removed unless they are exposed.
Finally, weeds can always come back. When I was a kid, I hated to weed the garden (of course, now it’s a therapeutic activity). I never understood why we do something that we will just have to do again and again. But that’s how weeds work. They start out small or just around the edges and work their way in and among, sometimes even throughout the plants in the garden, hoping to leech some of the care and love you are putting into those plants. That’s why you have to stay on your guard and be diligent in your weeding. In the same way, just because I have let go of a worry now doesn’t mean I stop worrying, or even that the same worry in a different form might return. Just like my garden, I have to continuously be on my guard with my heart, acknowledging the weeds that have crept into my life and allow God to work, pulling each painful weed.
I have truly learned to love gardening. I enjoy the fresh produce I get each year, as well as the quiet time I spend just working in the garden, making sure every plant has all that they need. I think God feels the same way in working in our hearts. Sure, He might get frustrated at the weeds, but He knows it’s worth it. Because once His work is complete, the beauty of His garden, of our hearts, is truly spectacular.