The sun shone on my back. Although still low in the sky, its heat foretold what was to come that day. My decision to get in the garden early was proving a good one. A slight breeze cooled what little perspiration had formed on my brow, and praise music played lightly on my phone, low enough to enjoy the mockingbirds’ melodies.
I sat on my garden stool between the row of knee-high okra and waist-high zucchini. The rain had hastened not only the growth of the plants but also the weeds. One by one, I plucked them from the moist dirt. I found the process, though annoying, oddly cathartic. It was so peaceful out here.
I breathed a prayer of thanks for this moment.
Another weed, another cluster of grass. Tug, snap, clunk in the bucket.
That’s what I’m doing with you, you know.
I’ve learned to listen to these unbidden thoughts. My spirit leaned in. Glancing back at the part of the row I had just completed, the large zucchini leaves were a beautiful sight.
I know it hurts, but I’ve got to pull the weeds so the beauty I created in you can be seen, for My glory.
I had clearly felt the Lord’s painful rod of discipline that week. But as I looked at the clean row, I felt loved. Yes, this painful pruning was necessary.
“But, Father,” I replied, “Even after I clear out this entire row, more weeds will return in a matter of days. My work is never done.”
Neither is Mine.
He’s a patient Father. I, the gardener, have a disdain for weeding the same area after I had spent effort clearing it out once. But God, no. An ever-patient Father, He gently takes to the task of pulling the weeds in my life. Again and again.
Tugging at another weed, I shook off the soil from the roots. I knew weed seeds abounded in that very soil. Indeed, the task of weeding will be never-ending in my garden. As long as the soil remains, so will the weeds.
But someday, I realized, the weed-infested soil of my heart will be replaced. Someday, when this body of sin is done away with, the weeds will be gone (Rom. 8:23).
I long for that day. For the day when I don’t wrestle with my flesh (Rom. 7:15). For the day the weeds in my life will be no more. For the day when what He began in me will be completed (Phil. 1:6).
But until that day, I rest in the hands of a loving Father who never tires of picking weed after weed in my life. After all, he knows that I am but flesh (Psalm 103:13-14).
I stretch my back and take my bucket of weeds to the compost pile. Then I settle in and start the next section. My work is never done; neither is my Father’s. But I’m thankful He continues to work on me and doesn’t leave me where I am.
Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! –Romans 7:24-25a
Sometimes, I think the most discouraging times in our lives are when we get caught in the same sinful patterns that God has dealt with in us once before. We wonder if He, like us, tire of doing the same things over again. We wonder if He is tempted to stop trying and move on.
I’m learning that as long as my heart stays tender to the Spirit’s conviction and work in my heart — like my soil needs to be moist to best eradicate weeds in my garden — He doesn’t tire like you and I would. His lovingkindness, patience, and faithfulness is unending. Don’t give up on yourself and God’s work in your life. He doesn’t give up on you.