Coco and I stopped at the park today after she got her nails clipped at the vet. She absolutely loves to go walking–something I rather dislike. However, she is always up for the ride and she is so patient having a stubborn mama like me. So, I figured we would stop by the park near her vet and do a lap around the “lake”–pond is probably a better word. It’s about a mile around, I think.
It was my kind of day out, too! Perfectly overcast and cool, as the clouds had yet to dissipate from the rain overnight. I’m not going to lie–it’s the first time that together we had been to this area of the park and walked around it. I don’t know the history of the *ahem*, pond. Maybe in it’s prime, it used to be a lake. It is fed from the city streets that drain here. In years’ past, we used to have more rain than of late. Like many, many years ago.
But regardless of it’s actual history, something occurred to me as we walked around the edge, around the winding sidewalk.
This sidewalk was a visible, very visible, dividing line between two completely different separate environments. On the left, the grass was rather–well, green. I won’t say lush, because it is more like pasture grass than the grass on a well-kept lawn or golf course. But, it was green. it was healthy. It had the occasional weed, but it didn’t have many.
However, on the right, there was a vast area between the sidewalk and the edge of the pond below that was practically covered in weeds. It wasn’t the prettiest pond, but hey, it was a great place to walk and enjoy nature. And sometimes, God doesn’t want to use those pretty places–those well-kept gardens of beautiful lush grass and bright colorful plants to speak to us. Sometimes, He uses the weeds.
As I walked, I was imagining how this land was obviously once filled with water. No one had seen the dirt under the water. They just saw the water. They fished, they maybe even had picnics out here. They weren’t worried about what was under the water, because all they were really interested in was the beautiful, well-kept grass that they could see and the water. I’m sure it was much prettier then.
But there came a time when the land dried up. It stopped raining as much. The water receded. At first, there was probably just mud in it’s place. Mud, which turned to dirt as the rain continued to hold off. For days, weeks, months–years even. The place once formerly occupied by the water was filling up with lots and lots and lots of weeds. Until that’s really all that was even there. Sure, right up against the sidewalk there was a small strip of healthy grass. but even it was being overtaken by the weeds that were popping up everywhere.
What a shame, I thought. How sad. Once a place filled with love, laughter, joy and excitement was a place that probably many had abandoned as they went in search of other places that could offer them more in the way of beauty.
That’s when God spoke to me. So clearly I understood that grass takes time, care, and attention to be cultivated. In order for the grass to be lush and green on the right side, someone has to tend to it. Work has to be put in. Just because the water has receded and the land is going through a dry spell does not mean that it has to be ugly. It can once again be filled with grass. Someone can go through and spray the weeds, hoping to kill them all off. They can plant new grass. They can choose to bring the water to it, instead of letting it depend on the water from the pond.
Such is our spiritual life, eh? It was a convicting day for me, for sure. Just because I have been in a desert for what seems like an eternity–does not mean that I have to wait for it to rain again.
I can go in search of water–True, Living Water.
I can root out the weeds in my life–rebellion, sin, pride.
Who says that I have to wait for God to just pour down His rain on me? Enough that it eventually fills my dry lake bed back up again to cover and drown out the weeds in my life. The weeds that have taken over a vast majority of the area big enough at one time to be appropriately referred to as a lake. An area that has over the years been reduced to a more appropriate term–a pond.
What does that say for the Spiritual? As soon as the water dries up, we can go in search of our own Water. Not from us, of course–from Jesus. Because only He can make us grow. Only He can help us to root out the weeds that are beginning to take over our lives before we let them completely fill the empty spaces by our lack of concern–by our unwillingness to work and exert the effort of staying continually in His Word. Only He can make new growth happen, and only He can nourish our soul to substantial health once again.
Whether He decides to pour down rain or not–we can be tending to our soul, rooting out the weeds and planting seeds of growth as we go about Kingdom work. Cultivating, fertilizing, and spending time understanding the very nature of our hearts. The very nature of His.
Sometimes it takes a visual image to reveal things to us that we knew deep down in our hearts, but were before unwilling to come to terms with. Sometimes, it’s the not-so-pretty side of things that we need to see that convicts us to change and to submit, surrender, and wholly devote our hearts to Jesus once again.
Maybe, like me, the water has receded in your life, too. So much so that weeds have overtaken your life and the beauty of His Living Water isn’t as present in you as it used to be. It will take effort. One step at a time. One weed at a time. Pull it out, throw it away. And ask God to plant a new seed in it’s place. A seed of faith. A seed of encouragement. A seed of hope. A seed of Gentleness. Of Love. Of Joy. Of Peace. Patience.Kindness. Goodness. Faithfulness. Self Control.
With work, with persistence, with motivation and energy to bring those dead places to life once again, the edges of that dry lake will be full of new life again. And the grass that is there now, right next to it and barely hanging on to the health that it has? Well, once the weeds are rooted out, it will be able to come to life again too. It won’t be tainted and in threat of succumbing to the weeds in my life (or yours) either.
Galatians 5:22-23 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness,gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.