I write a story about a garden. This is a true story and the garden is real.
It is a rough bit of ground, very hard with clay soil, with weed seeds planted everywhere in great variety. But it is time ‘to break up this fallow ground’-and deep down, we all know, that our hearts are as hard as this ground. Our thoughts are overcome with weeds of lies and projections of non-truths about the future and other people. But, we think it’s only ‘me’, that the other guy has it ‘all together’ and ‘gets it right’ and everything always works out great for ‘him’. This garden seems hopeless, and yes, the soil of our hearts will remain unfruitful, unless…
This is not easy work. There will be a scent of perspiration as great amounts of energy will be expended, and there will be pain as the thorns of the nasty weeds cut through the gloves. It sometimes seems like an impossible job – wondering, “how in the world can all these weeds grow so violently when the soil is only clay and rock? Nothing should grow in this soil!”
Breaking up the ‘fallow ground’ in this garden and turning it around to be fruitful just seems like a mountain too high to climb,so to speak. Maybe it just shouldn’t be done -forget about it, it’s just too hard a job. There’s no way all these weeds can be pulled out, there is no way this soil can go from rocky to soft. No, forget it- this is an impossible job.
But there is a messenger with the words, “Don’t you know? Surely you have heard. Hasn’t someone told you from the beginning?”(paraphrased, Is. 40:21). “Didn’t you believe the report you heard? Didn’t someone tell you of the hand of God?” (paraphrased, Is. 53:1).
“He’s the Master Gardener, you know. All things are possible with Him. Didn’t you know that ‘He grew up like a small plant before the LORD and that He was like a root growing in dry ground’?(Is. 53:2). There was nothing strikingly beautiful about His appearance that made Him desirable. Yes, He was ‘a root growing in dry ground.’
“Surely, you know this, that He was hated and rejected by people. He had much pain and suffering. People would not even look on Him. He was hated, and we didn’t even notice Him. But He took our suffering on Himself and felt our pain for us.” (Is. 53:2,3.)
Did we see His suffering in the garden? Did we see Him as He prayed for us? Did we see Him with the crown of thorns on His head? No, we didn’t know. None of us did. ‘We all have wandered away like sheep. Each of us has gone his own way.’ (Is. 53:6). “There is none righteous, no not one; there is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God…” (Romans 3:10,11). Our hearts are like stoney and weed infested gardens. There’s no hope for fruit.
But something has happened. The work has been done: “And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. And His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:44). “Surely our griefs he Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried…He was pierced through for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; The chastening for our well being…” (Is. 53:5).
The Master Gardener was faithful in a ‘faithless’ land of stones and weeds. The Master Gardener was willing to face the task at hand, the sweat, the thorns, the pain and toil…breaking up of the fallow ground came upon Him; ‘He was wounded for the wrong things we did. He was crushed for the evil things we did, (Is. 53:5, Int. Children’s Version)…that we might be healed.
Something happened, He said, “I am willing.” Something happened, He said, “I believe in you.” ‘He willingly gave His life, He was treated like a criminal. But He carried away the sins of many people. And He asked forgiveness for those who sinned.”
Something happened, He said, “It is finished.”(John 19:30).
The soil is made new, that it might bear fruit. Life will come from each desolate heart ‘ for God so loves ‘His garden, His garden is you and me, without Him we are nothing! “Who has believed His report?”(Is. 53:1). Will you?
“For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, And do not return there without watering the earth And making it bear and sprout, And furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; So will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; It will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it. for you will go out with joy and be led forth with peace; The mountains and the hills will break forth into shouts of joy before you, And all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thorn bush the cypress will come up, And instead of the nettle the myrtle will come up…” (Is. 56:10-13).
“God made Him, who knew no sin, to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor. 5:21). And ‘in Him’ He speaks as a Master Gardener to His own, “No longer do iIcall you servants, but I have called you friends. For all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit ..that whatever you ask the Father in my name,…He may give you.”(John 15:15).
You and I, shall be like a garden …