Do you like to garden?
You know, get down on your knees and dig in the dirt?
Rarely do you find people “in the middle” in their opinion of gardening.

Some people REALLY LOVE it – the whole playing around in the dirt, pulling up the old plants, preparing the soil, planting new seeds or plants so that they can bloom, and produce fruit/vegetables.

BUT . . .

Some people REALLY HATE IT!
They don’t like getting their hands dirty, the dirt under their nails, not to mention the bugs you encounter when you are digging around in the dirt.

Yet, whether we like gardening or not, gardens produce beautiful things – flowers, fruits, vegetables, etc.

In The Shack the garden scenes are so important! When Mack first encountered the garden, he was intrigued by how different it was from what he expected.

“It was chaos in color. Dazzling sprays of flowers were blasted through patches of randomly planted vegetables and herbs, vegetation the likes of which Mack had never seen. It was confusing, stunning, and incredibly beautiful.” (p. 134)

In one particular scene, Sarayu asked Mack to help her clear a plot of ground. There was something she wanted to plant there, and she needed his help to get the ground ready. After she said that, she started destroying the beautiful display of flowers. She seemed to be wreaking havoc in one of the most beautiful parts of the garden.

In order to prepare the garden for the next important piece, she had to destroy a beautiful place and did so by pulling up all the wonderful growth!

Can you imagine, going into a garden you’ve spent time, energy, and money and then pulling up the “wonderful growth?” Not the weeds, not the overgrowth, pulling up the wonderful growth. Yet sometimes, in order to prepare for new things, the things we think are “wonderful” have to be moved so that we are ready for the next thing.
(Keep in mind, this is not inferring that “God intentionally causes things to happen so that we will be ready). BUT – – – life happens. Tragic and difficult circumstances happen. And if we can look at this analogy of pulling up wonderful growth, we might be able to deal with the pain that comes with that difficult process.

“To prepare this ground, we have to dig up the roots of all the wonderful growth that was here. It is hard work, but well worth it. If the roots are not here, then they cannot do what comes naturally and harm the seed we will plant.”

Sometimes in our own souls where we hold our pain, disappointment, and regret, we find that if we do not do the HARD WORK of digging up those roots, we leave some of the root remnants. As we work on becoming healthy and whole again, the roots will squeeze out that progress if we aren’t careful.

Rev. Diana Hoover, who co-facilitates the Sunday morning small group taught a powerful lesson about grief.

She said when she offered grief counseling she would talk with people about “working” through their grief. Note – the word “working.” Moving from places of pain and disappointment requires work!

We have to pull up the roots!  And this . . .  is difficult work. But IF it is work we will focus on, we will find that our gardens are so much more beautiful once the new seeds sprout and the new beauty emerges.

What roots do you need to pull up today?

17 So I’m telling you this, and I insist on it in the Lord: you shouldn’t live your life like the Gentiles anymore. They base their lives on pointless thinking, 
18 and they are in the dark in their reasoning. They are disconnected from God’s life because of their ignorance and their closed hearts. 
19 They are people who lack all sense of right and wrong, and who have turned themselves over to doing whatever feels good and to practicing every sort of corruption along with greed. 
20 But you didn’t learn that sort of thing from Christ. 
21 Since you really listened to him and you were taught how the truth is in Jesus, 
22 change the former way of life that was part of the person you once were, corrupted by deceitful desires. 
23 Instead, renew the thinking in your mind by the Spirit 
24 and clothe yourself with the new person created according to God’s image in justice and true holiness.                                  (Galatians 4:17-24)