Where you tend a rose, a thistle can not grow (The Secret Garden)
I just love springtime. It's my favorite time of the year. It gets warm, the green things start growing, random flowers errupt everywhere. It's a blessed time -- especially after a long winter. I spent the past week pouring over The Secret Garden once again (what a delightful book!). I guess spring's gotten into my heart, because even my Bible studies have taken me to gardens.
Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the Lord's renown,
for an everlasting sign which will not be destroyed.
He replaces the ugly with the beautiful; the thorny with the useful. Why? To show God's renown -- his fame, celebrity, eminence, good reputation, and glory. It's his sign of redemption, to remove our ugly bits and leave the good. Christ talks about this in the Gospel of John as well:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.
We have to have the dead bits removed so that the Christlike parts of us can flourish. We can't be successful servants of God if we're still clinging to our bitterness and selfishness. He has to remove those thorns and replace them with forgiveness and selflessness for us to truly make a difference in the kingdom. And the same concept applies to every other thorny bit of our souls as well.
So my question is, are you willing to let God muck around in your personality? Gardening isn't easy... breaking ground can break your back, and a freshly-pruned bush can look just awful. Removing the dead bits can be downright painful. But you have to remember what happens after: fresh seeds spring up from the turned soil, and the bush regrows healthier, stronger, and more fruitful than ever before. It's worth it. Will you let God garden in your soul?