Of all the gardens that we have planted over the years, I think the best one that we ever had was when we lived in my grandmother’s house in the early to mid-1980’s. It was actually the second one that we had put in after our marriage in 1975. In 1977 or 78 we had broken up a section of the hard ground in Piper’s grandparent’s backyard just a few blocks down from our first apartment and planted some vegetables. We would diligently walk over a couple of times each day throughout that summer to tend to its needs. And except for the deer that would come down from the hill behind their place and eat the tomato vines, we actually had a fairly decent harvest!
Once we were settled into my grandmother’s small two bedroom house a few years later, I couldn’t wait to get started on a garden at our own place! I spent a lot of time in that backyard over the six years we lived there (between the garden and the darkroom I had put up in the yard!). During that time I added many different kinds of soil amendments including a truckload of river sand from a co-workers home on the Russian River not too far from our home town. All the work paid off as it was the most consistently producing garden we ever had since then.
One summer I thought I’d be smart and I dug channels down either side of the rows of corn, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, lettuce, pole green beans, and other varieties of veggies I had added that year. My thought was that I could simply place the hose at one end of the garden and have the water flow throughout the garden, and for the most part it worked! The down side was that it ended up taking almost as much time and effort as watering by hand since I had to constantly re-dig, clean out and shape the channels (especially when one of the kids or the dog would run through the garden and stomp on them which caused a blockage in the water flow!).
All those pleasant memories came back today as I read in Psalm 1:3 where the person who thrills in the Word of God is “like a tree planted by rivers of water, that bringeth forth fruit in his season…” (KJV) The thought of “rivers” of water caught my attention and when I looked it up in my various commentaries, many stated that this was “probably alluding to the custom of artificial channels for irrigating the land in eastern countries.” (Cambridge and Adam Clarke) Kind of like the channels I dug in our garden many years ago.
It would seem that the Lord is telling us that it is up to us to make the effort to dig channels from the rivers of His Word to irrigate and thereby nourish all the various areas of our lives. And as was my experience, this takes continual attention and tending to in order to assure that the flow of His truth is unimpeded in its approach to each place in our lives. I know that I have mentioned this many times before, but that has been one the most important lessons I have learned in the last few years.
We have had some really awful things said to us by individuals that I always thought to be mature Christians. Suddenly I found myself wondering if they REALLY were Christians at all! Then I was quite shocked at my own angry reaction to their words and had to take a hard and long look at myself. Through that process of self-examination it became clear to me that we both had some areas that weren’t getting properly irrigated with God’s grace!
I have a specially shaped hoe that I inherited from my grandfather that worked great at clearing out the channels in my vegetable garden, but I didn’t have such a spiritual tool in my personal garden shed to help me open up or rebuild the channels I needed in my soul! I had to do some deep digging in my heart, exercise some weed-choked forgiveness and add many big measures of soil amendments as found in the Word of God in order to open up the channels of God’s grace into that area of my life… and in some cases I am still working on the project as new adversities pop up.
How about you? Can you honestly say that you have clear channels from which flow the goodness, grace, truth and love of God to EVERY area of your life? If not… maybe it is time to get out your spiritual hoe and get to work cleaning out and reforming those channels from which flow the rivers of life! Have a great weekend. Stay in tune to God’s Word, and keep asking yourself… “What or Whom am I expecting today?”