For many the thought of weeding the garden is a daunting and unwanted task, but I find it very peaceful. I turn my music on and go to town. What was an overgrown mess becomes a beautiful landscape 🙂
Well after weeding the garden I began to prune the dead branches and leaves from the many garden plants we have: tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, summer squash, strawberries, etc. Then, something went terribly wrong when I got to the cucumber vine. I cut through the vine’s very connection to the roots, and realized I had pulled the cucumber plant (roots and all) out of the ground. I didn’t realize this immediately, but as I began to untangle the vines from the tomato and zucchini plants, I realized….I had cut the vine from the roots.
Oh no, I thought. The cucumbers are one of our most fruitful plants at the end of the summer…what am I going to do?
Surely as the morning progressed the leaves began to whither. As one last ditch effort, I decided to try and graft the vine back to the main stalk connected to the roots. After about 30 minutes of trial and error, it seemed like I had managed to get the two ends to stay together. I moistened the soil and replanted the roots. The trauma may have been too much and the graft might not take, but I gave it my best effort. (Having never grafted a plant in my life, and only reading a few gardening websites.) Only time will tell.
This whole fiasco this morning, made me think a lot about our relationship with God.
Adam and Eve had it good, nothing separating them from God, and a relationship with God where he would come down and walk with them. How amazing?
Then, they sinned. They went ahead and acted against Gods very command. isn’t that what sin is, speaking, thinking or acting in a way that is opposite of who God is or what He has instructed us?
That very moment they took and ate the apple, our relationship with God was severed. I say our because this changed the course of everything not only for Adam and Eve, but Every person that would live after them. Just like I severed the cucumber vine from its roots, that’s what happened between man and God. That’s when sin and death became part of the human experience.
God created man to be in relationship with him, to walk with him, to live life with Him. But, the very connection that allowed for this is broken, more than that : severed. Can we get it back? If so, how? Is it too late? Is there any hope?
As I look out on the garden, the leaves are withering and show signs of death, of dying. Now many who have transplanted a plant before, know that sometimes the plants initially whither and appear as though they won’t recover but they do (that’s what happened to our first cucumber transplant). Over time the plants begin to root, recover, and flourish. The jury is still out on if this will happen with this cucumber vine.
Back to Adam and Eve.
As punishment for their actions, they were banished from the Garden of Eden.
Along with a list of punishments (including working for a living, pain in child bearing, death, etc), was a promise that God would one day restore the relationship that was broken.
Just for a side note, there are two types of death talked about. One is the death we all experience at the end of our lives, but there is a more final death that is eternal separation from God, both as a result of sin.
Let me repeat this, God makes a promise, that he would make a way for this relationship to be right, and that we won’t have to be eternally separated from God.
This process would be like the grafting process, where the severed branch would be brought together with the vine (attached to the root system = God), and then attached by an external source. The branch and the vine just won’t attach, you need something to hold it together. In gardening there is grafting tape or other methods.
So, what is that external force that allows us to be grafted back into Gods vine because we can’t do it in our own power. Imagine what would happen to the vine if I just put the two branches together and let go…no connection. Remember that promise that God made that he would provide a way that we could end the separation from God?
Promise = Jesus
At the beginning of the bible, a few chapters after the story of creation, we read the following : without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. That’s what the animal sacrifice in Jewish culture was for (along with other things) for the atonement of sin. It was a sacrifice made every year (and at other times) by a priest for the forgiveness of sin. well, that was a temporary cleansing, that’s why it had to happen repeatedly.
Would there ever be a permanent fix? Yes.
The requirement was a “perfect” sacrifice, without spot or blemish.
That’s where Jesus comes in. Jesus was sent to earth as that perfect sacrifice. Fully man, and fully God. A man who had never sinned.
Jesus lived among us, and ultimately paid the highest price, he died on a cross for you and me. He died a death that was meant for each of us (taking on the sins of everyone) the story doesn’t end there though, on the third day he rose to life again. Forever defeating the power of death!
Jesus is what allows us to be in relationship with God, he was that perfect sacrifice that God accepted as the sacrifice that could wash our sins clean.
You may ask, how can my relationship with God be restored?
In the Bible it says this: that we must confess with our mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead. It’s recognizing that you are a sinner, that you need forgiveness for your sins, that Jesus is the only way to be cleansed from your sins, and submit your life to God.
The bible also says this: God loved us so much that he sent His only son, that WHOEVER BELIEVES in him will not perish but have everlasting life. Living forever in relationship with God, how awesome!
Being in relationship with God is a process, it’s not like all your bad habits or anything just disappearsand you are perfect, nope it’s a process. It doesn’t mean that pain and suffering stops. But, you get to journey with God through it all, never alone. Allowing God to transform you. It’s not about perfection, it’s about being in relationship with God and allowing him to help you become all that He has created you to be. it’s a journey. it’s a wonderful journey. It’s a struggle, yes. But, I wouldn’t change it for the world.
Just like grafting plants takes time, and it doesn’t happen over night, it’s the same with our relationship with God.
Know this: God is a God who is loving, just, righteous, gracious, merciful, kind, patient, full of peace, full of hope, good, gentle, joyful, and FAITHFUL.
I invite you to to seek God out, as he says “if you seek me, you will find me, if you seek with all your heart.”