Most folks have a place that is special - it either brings back good memories or may still be a place where memories are being made. Our home was in a subdivision on the outskirts of the city, but when I was in high school my parents bought fifteen acres about nine miles outside of town.
There was a hill at the back of it on which dad hung a tire swing. At the base of the hill was a place where we would have bonfires. There was a creek to one side that was good for splashing and playing. And a barn was built in which to store the tractor and other equipment. That property became a place for family time, for relaxation, and for raising, yes, a garden. There were blackberry vines and apple and nut trees already there. We planted corn, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, cabbage, strawberries, cucumbers, peppers, carrots, onions, squash, and so forth. While we no longer own that property my mother still has a little garden at the side of her house in town and we've enjoyed the tomatoes, cucumbers, onions, peppers, and zucchini that she gets from it.
For me, there's something about being in a garden and working a garden that draws me closer to God. I wonder about the first garden and how it might have looked. With God as the master planter of the Garden of Eden, I imagine a garden with every type of tree, fruit, and vegetable that one would ever need. We know that Adam and Eve also had every opportunity to be close to God.
Then there's another garden - the Garden of Gethsemane - the garden to which Jesus and His disciples went the night on which He was arrested after they had the Passover Meal together.
Each of these gardens had their defining moments...both had decisions that had to be made...both changed the course of history.
Adam and Eve chose to eat of the forbidden fruit after being tempted by Satan. He changed their way of thinking about their relationship with God and their actions changed their relationship with God. Sin causes a broken relationship.
Jesus had a choice to make as well. He prayed to His Father for any way that the cup of suffering and death for the sins of man could be removed and that the reconciliation between man and God could be done any other way. He could have chosen not to go through with it. He knew what He was facing.
Perhaps we are in a garden of life in which we have prepared the soil and done the planting, the weeding, and reaping. We have enjoyed the fruits (and vegetables) of our labors.
Perhaps we are in a garden of life in which we hear the weeds of untruth, twisted principles, and misguided solutions that Satan has planted. He's been doing that all throughout history and still does today.
Perhaps we are in a garden of life in which we know what we are facing and we pray to God to remove it from us if at all possible. As the angel came to the garden to strengthen Jesus, God too will be with us when we choose to do His will and not ours.
What grows in each person's garden of life depends on what we plant or let grow or what we let God plant and grow. May we remember that each one's journey in their garden of life is different from ours. May we remember that God is ready to plant His garden in the soil of our lives, and the harvest He plants will be more than enough.
In Jesus' name. Amen