“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there He put the man He had formed.” Genesis 2:8
Only God’s beauty could have pulled me out of bed today. My head hurts with a cold that just refuses to quit, and yet my heart willed me to get up for just a few minutes and breathe in the fresh air of spring, and the perfection of these flowers that miraculously sprung from the ground this April.
The previous owner of our house had planted what looked like an overgrown garden of weeds right into the yard in front of four towering bushes. Each year, the plants she placed there would be the first to spring up, right out of the grass, to my dismay. They weren’t pretty. They didn’t flower. Weeds quickly took over, and last year out of sheer frustration at the determination of these “weeds” my husband decided to simply mow over them with the lawn mower…
And then this year, just as we were debating whether or not to dig up that whole area of yard in order to get rid of this shambled mess in front of the bushes…they began to flower. And they are beautiful.
You see, last autumn we trimmed up the bottom of those towering bushes. It turns out that all we needed to do was cut them back and let the light shine in on those plants that were so determined to grow. The warm sunlight had turned what we described as an undesired mess into a small corner of beauty.
Our lives mirror this in so many ways. How many times have I cried out and yelled that my brokenness is ugly? How many times have I looked away from broken situations and crushed spirits? The world is afraid of broken and messy things. We are called brave when we stand amid the tangled messes and the bruised life stories. We are labeled heroes when we jump into the darkness and dare to continue carrying on holding the light.
Bad things happen to us, and we cry and we break and we wail and we ask God why a million times. And those whose lives seem perfect to us stare back and call us strong. Yet so often we don’t see it. We don’t feel strong. We feel broken and shattered because of what has happened to us. We don’t feel like our stories are worth telling because we didn’t choose this. We didn’t choose what happened to us. We simply find ourselves treading water in the midst of it.
These daffodils that sprung up in my yard didn’t choose the darkness that they were covered in these last few years either. And yet, knowing that they were planted with a purpose, they continued to pop up year after year, even as we saw how messy and broken and unhealthy they were. They didn’t give up. Each year they grew out of the ground with the hope that this year the light would hit them and transform them, that this year would be the year that they would bloom.
I feel as they did. That each year through infertility and brokenness, I have to keep having hope. I have to keep popping up out of my darkness. I have to hold on to hope that the sun will shine and that God’s warmth will hit and that He will bring goodness and life out of what I see as dirt.
“At the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb, in which no one had ever been laid.” John 19:41
And then today I thought of Jesus, who walked through darkness for me, and who chose to have the light withdrawn from Him, so that He could plant in me Life. He was broken for me. And He who was broken, for us, became the most beautiful. His story was redemption. His scars became our joy. His death became our Life. He was the Light that would shine in our darkness. He is the warmth that we waited centuries for. He lifted up that curtain, that veil, which cast darkness over us, and He let the Light of His Father shine in on us. He who was the Light of Heaven, became the Light of us.
And out of our dirt….He sprung up. The root of Jesse. The Vine to whom we are the branches. Our Garden in which we were planted, in which we were formed, became our mess. And yet Jesus dared to walk in the Garden again…even though it became dark…even though it traded in its name of Eden for Gethsemane.
Nailed to a tree, which sprung from the ground from which we were taken and to which we would return, He humbled Himself, that the same tree that saw death would bring us Life. That though we ate from the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and would surely die, we would also taste of the tree named Life and Live.
Our darkness would disappear. The sun would once again shine on us, and that sun would be the Light of Life. Yes, indeed, a garden will grow from where we have been planted. We will once again see the blossoms of life. Our messes will become our past and a Garden will be our future.
For Jesus did not come just to die…but also to Rise. For us, Eden became Gethsemane. But because of Jesus, Gethsemane transforms into Heaven. For though paradise was plunged from light into darkness, God chose to walk among us even when the Light could no longer shine, for God Himself is the Light of His people, and nothing can separate the Love He has for us.
Your mess is only the place in which you learn that God refuses to give up on you. Your tangled weeds, are only remnants of a darkness which once held you but no longer can. For now, because of Jesus, a Light has begun to shine, and you can grow.
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” John 15:1
God who has planted all things, has reentered the Garden. His light will thaw you out. Your winter is over. Your spring has come. And soon Summer will find you blossoming in His warmest Light. Because nothing God has planted in you will return to Him empty. His love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on you. Gethsemane has traded in its name. It no longer stands for darkness, but instead for Light.
So while you continue to feel as though the world is trying to mow you over, and that darkness is trying to choke you out, remember that Jesus who chose to be broken for you is cutting back the veil and sending His Light into your Life to warm you and to encourage you to grow from His light and from the vine to which you are now grafted into. “Arise and shine, for your Light has come”. Don’t be afraid to grow. Jesus broke to raise you from this mess.