In the Bible, the prophet Isaiah relates the promise that the Lord will guide us and satisfy us, and that we shall “be like a watered garden.” Isaiah 58:11
I like to think of caring for ourselves as we would for a flower garden. Since we are all children of the God who cherishes us, we can lovingly express this tender care and promise to ourselves. We want to glorify our heavenly parent by keeping ourselves beautiful and fruitful for His service and loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Here in Chaffee County, we know that gardening can be a challenge. Our native soil is sandy, rocky and invaded by weeds. Digging up river rock is inevitable and requires patience and strength. Tumbleweed and cheat grass take up water and nourishment where we want to see beauty.
We have a vision for our garden – colorful blossoms of many hues that are fragrant and attract bees and butterflies, bushes and trees with berries and fruits for birds and us to enjoy and share. Doesn’t God have a vision for us, His perfect spiritual image and likeness as recorded in Genesis 1? We strive to understand and exemplify this image, so we look to Jesus as our example.
In the mirror we may see a person needing a lot of help from God to measure up to this vision of divine beauty and goodness. What do we do?
With divine Love’s help we can rebuke the lying serpent that tells us that ungodlike qualities are part of our true identity as God’s children.
From the barren soil of our hearts we can eliminate stones of selfishness, greed, dishonesty, ingratitude, anger and hate. We can uproot and toss out weeds of fear, faults, hurts, doubt and discouragement from our mortal thoughts of ourselves. God’s ever-present and all-powerful love, wisdom and strength are with us in this effort, for what loving parent would not correct us?
Once we have identified and done our best to remove those rocks and weeds, we enrich our garden with proper nutrients such as humility, sincerity, gratitude, obedience, trust, and unselfish love. In this good soil we can then plant our seeds of “love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-control,” as the apostle Paul tells us. Gal. 5:22
As God waters us with bountiful blessings from heaven, so we can water the garden of our hearts with hope, faith and love. I know when I hike in our pristine mountains to enjoy glorious views of wildflowers and rejoice in God’s abundant goodness, I’m also inwardly hoping to catch glimpses of myself as His fresh, lovely, innocent, pure reflection.
We want to enjoy and share the blessings of our understanding of God’s goodness and love.
As we fence in our garden to protect it from hungry deer and bunnies, let’s humbly and gratefully trust that divine Love not only corrects, plants and nurtures us, but also, as Jesus showed, protects us from the devourer that would steal, kill and destroy us. This spiritual knowing is our protection.
Don’t we long to see our children safe and secure all day? We can wrap them up in the arms of our heavenly parent, knowing, as Paul tells us in Romans 8, that nothing can separate them from the love of God, wherever they are. They can learn this love of God, feel this peace for themselves and be free from fear for their schools as well. I’ll be praying for them.
Carolyn J. Nagusky, C.S. lives in and has a prayer office for Christian Science healing in Salida, and conducts a weekly Bible Study for inmates in the Chaffee County Detention Center.