Last year a lady at our church invited a group of us to a garden party at her home. As soon as I walked through the gate I was stunned – I have never seen such a beautiful private garden. It was spectacular! There were delicate pink and white climbing roses cascading in abundance with fragrant, open blooms alongside tightly closed fresh, green buds and all the stages of bursting forth in between. There were hostas and cottage garden flowers in a myriad of vibrant shades and muted tones, and trees and shrubs of all kinds of shapes and sizes, all perfectly arranged.
As I sat enjoying tea and cake, basking in this oasis of beauty and peace, I couldn’t help but notice that not one plant was spoilt by the pests that seem to attack my garden with a vengeance – no black spot or greenfly on the roses, no evidence of slug damage on the hostas, no hint of any disease. I presumed our friend must use very good garden chemicals and, thinking I needed to invest in these miraculous products, I asked her what she used.
I was quite taken aback when she said, “Oh, we don’t use anything like that. We love the birds and the wildlife, and we don’t want to endanger them”. “But how is it that your garden isn’t attacked by every passing bug, like mine?” I persisted. She smiled and said, “We feed it well. We give our plants lots of rich compost so they grow strong. If they’re strong they’re resistant to disease and infestation. They just don’t get them.”
This was a revelation to me. I was often on slug patrol in my garden, and regularly on the lookout for greenfly, blackfly, whitefly, mould and mildew, spray gun in hand! But, I had to be honest, I never fed my plants that well. I always thought rich compost was an unnecessary expense we could manage without. I needed to reconsider! In reality I was probably spending much more on trying to fix the problems, rather than prevent them.
Then I began to think about the spiritual correlation. How often is our focus on the unhealed areas of our lives, the wounds, the hurts and pains, and our need of treatment? Of course, the Lord Jesus won healing for us at Calvary’s Cross (Isaiah 53:5), and He wants to help us apply the work of the cross into the unhealed areas of our lives, which sometimes means we need someone alongside us to minister healing prayer in His name.
But turning our eyes upon Jesus first and foremost is crucial: reading, meditating, feeding on His Word, so that our roots, like those of the plants in my friend’s garden, begin to sink down into the rich compost of His truth and we soak it into the depth and fibre of our being. It’s amazing then, how many of the areas we’ve perhaps thought we needed special attention for, receive healing directly from Him. It’s His intended way for us to grow strong, and in that newfound strength and security, develop a resistance to the enemy’s ploys, and find that we are no longer susceptible to the rejections and wounding that once seemed to regularly assail us.
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I’m sorry that I so often focus inwardly on my problems rather than looking upward to You. You’re the lifter of my head. Please help me to turn my eyes on You, to feed on Your Word and receive the rich spiritual food I need, to help me to truly grow strong and secure in You, Amen.
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