If gardening virtuosity was measured by the weekly harvest of thistle from my garden, I’d have my own reality show on HGTV. Canadian thistle, in particular, is what my green thumb cultivates.They’re sharp and pointy and ugly, and they grow up right in the middle of my peonies and daisies and hydrangea. Funny how these thistles–sure evidence of one of God’s earliest promises to man–are a yearly annoyance in my own back yard:
Genesis 3:17-19 (NLT)
And to the man he said, “Since you listened to your wife and ate from the tree
whose fruit I commanded you not to eat,
the ground is cursed because of you.
All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.
It will grow thorns and thistles for you,
though you will eat of its grains.
By the sweat of your brow
will you have food to eat
until you return to the ground
from which you were made.
For you were made from dust,
and to dust you will return.”
The root systems of these plants spread underground, insidious and unseen until they sprout like popcorn all over my garden. Even the tiniest ones have sharp little barbs on them that poke and cling to my calloused hands. Gloves are required, and herbicides are most effective in their eradication.
How many times is God annoyed when He walks into the garden of my spiritual walk with Him and He finds big, prickly crops of thistle. I hope He doesn’t find them in every patch of my garden, but I’m sure they are in many places . . . the places I am too stubborn or short-sighted to allow Him to tend.
Matthew 13:22 (TM)
The seed cast in the weeds is the person who hears the kingdom news, but weeds of worry and illusions about getting more and wanting everything under the sun strangle what was heard, and nothing comes of it.
I want too much. I worry too much. I have illusions about getting more and being more and getting even and clinging to my pain. Untended, the underground thistle roots try to worm their way into all areas of my life. Oh, if I could only submit the soil of my life to the hand of the Master Gardener. How much more green and lush would my life be. How much more breathtaking and alluring to those who so need wafts of lilacs or honeysuckle . . . the fragrances of Him. (2 Corinthians 2:14-16)
Maybe these thistles aren’t a yearly annoyance. Maybe they’re a yearly reminder to dismantle the fences surrounding the garden beds of my life, and trust them to the nurturing hands of my Savior.