As I opened our back door this morning, I was still expecting to be hit by the furnace-like temperatures that we’ve endured here in Kansas for weeks. What a pleasant relief, though, to feel the almost-cool air hit my face and to see the clouds in the sky instead of the blazing sun. It’s been wonderful to sit outside in the morning or the evening without feeling like I’m sitting in a sauna. The rains that we’ve had recently have rejuvenated both my garden and my spirits. How nice it’s been to be able to take a break from the constant, daily watering duties that I’ve had for most of the summer! To wake up in the mornings and say, “Aaaah! I don’t have to go out and water and sweat today!” has been almost like being on vacation.
So as I lazily walked outside this morning with a cup of coffee and began to walk around, I was hit with some stark reminders. In this time of respite from my gardening, I’ve allowed some unpleasant things to creep in among my flowers and vegetables. I remember writing to the gardening editor of our local newspaper a few years ago and one of her replying comments was that our gardens are to always be a place of beauty. While we were being baked and going thirsty in our extreme heat and drought, I was out in the gardens daily trying to nourish them and save them. During that time, I was able to see the weeds, the dead growth, or the other problem areas and then take care of it right away.
However, now that the crisis has eased, I’m not paying nearly as much attention to the details of my gardens. It’s starting to show, too. Dried blooms need to be removed; weeds need to be pulled; unproductive plants need to be cut back; vegetables need to be picked. It’s time to shake myself and to be alert and busy once again. Time to ensure that my gardens are a place of beauty and not a picture of neglect!
During the storms of my life I can distinctly remember going to God and to my Bible, asking for direction and for a Word from my Lord. Time spent with Him was valuable and necessary to me. I wanted to hear from Him! I needed God and I needed His attention in my life. I have so many verses in my Bible that are highlighted and then beside them I have written a date with a small note of the event that was taking place at that time. The majority of them are during a time of storm and crisis.
Yet during the reprieves of life, when things are pleasant and uneventful, it’s very easy to neglect that time with the Lord. Or maybe I still spend the time with Him but not necessarily with the fervency that I have during the time of trials. If I’m not careful, I will begin to see some ugly results of this attitude. Weeds of indifference, apathy, pride, and self-sufficiency will mar the beauty of God’s image in my life. My inattention will certainly result in deadness instead of growth. The Psalmist expresses this beautifully in Psalm 119:92-93 – “If Your law had not been my delight, then I would have perished in my affliction. I will never forget Your precepts, for by them You have revived me.”
May I remember Your precepts, O Lord, not just in my times of affliction but also in the times of refreshing. May I be revived in every stage of life by Your Word and by Your presence that I daily seek, so that my life will be a reflection of Your beauty.