The Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in drought, and strengthen your bones; you shall be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail (NKJV Isaiah 58:11).
Once I questioned a friend of mine, “Why do you tuck flowers in your braided hair? Looks very unprofessional” The answer she gave me left an indelible scar. In Shakespeare’s style she said, “Flowers the very thought of thee; Forgot I there is a heart within me.” After a brief moment of laughter, entering a serious tone she said, “A flower according to me symbolizes life, death and the span in between. My everyday prayer is, “Lord, my life is like this flower. It blossoms early in the morning and dies towards the close of the day. Help me to be a flower spreading fragrance this day. May I cheer the weary souls and bring smile in the face of someone who has been robbed of it.” Whenever I look at a flower I remember these words that she uttered and a well watered garden flashes before my inward eye.
My Master is the First Great Gardener. You know that the greatest work of God (that is our redemption) and the answer to our great dilemma was in a garden? Yes God corrected a problem that happened between Him and man when He placed the first man Adam (the one who became a living soul) in the Garden of Eden. Man who lost his original glory, got it restored through the last Adam (life giving soul) Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane.
Lessons from a garden: Garden is a subject that I love very much for many reasons. Take the simple things like the dirt. Adam was made out of dirt. It is about seeds that have died being buried. God died and was buried. It is about new life coming forth from those seeds in the earth. It is about God coming forth in the resurrection of new life. It is about weeds and thistles, spiritual distractions and temptations. It is about mulching and God being a covering to suppress the weeds of life. It is about birds and bugs attacking the fruit. It is about our enemy coming to steal and destroy. Its about harvest and the taste of first fruits. God was the first fruits of many brethren. A watered garden is one that has a constant supply of water, and is therefore green and productive throughout the year. Food is available and the people and other creatures that depend on the garden are not in want, they have life. Water is one of the basic requirements of the living organism and thus is a powerful symbol reminding us the living water Jesus Christ. It turns out that gardening has a lot to say about our faith; simple as it may be, it is very profound. No wonder that God was a gardener and God came teaching about gardening.
Surely one would be very happy to receive Isaiah 58:11 as a New Year promise and keep claiming it throughout this year. It is my prayer, “Lord, let me become a well-watered garden, like spring whose waters never fail.” However, one should bear in mind that maintaining a garden is not easy because this is not unconditional but a conditional promise. This promise works only when certain conditions are strictly adhered to.
The conditions are:
1. If you do away with the yoke of oppression
2.The pointing finger
3. Malicious talk
4. If you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry.
5. Satisfy the needs of the oppressed
If you obey the above conditions, you get the following benefits.
1.Your light will rise in the darkness
2. Your night will become like the noonday.
3. The Lord will guide you always
4. He will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
5. He will strengthen your frame.
6. You will be like a well-watered garden.
7. A spring whose waters never fail.
What are the benefits to your community?
1. Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
2. Will raise up the age-old foundations.
What will you be called? – You will be given two new names
1. You will be called Repairer of Broken Walls
2. Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.
A righteous man is like a well-watered garden. A young man called Chen Chin-Siong lives in Taiwan. When he was a baby his father died, and several years later his mother married again. Therefore his uncle adopted him. Chin-Siong became a very skilful bamboo craftsman, and his uncle was very happy with him. One day Chin-Siong heard the gospel of Jesus Christ and was so deeply moved by the message that he became a Christian. After a period of time he felt the call of God and was determined to study in a seminary to become a pastor. However, because of this decision, his uncle drove him out of the home. He and his wife became homeless; at that time his wife was pregnant and they suffered very much. Chin-Siong endured everything, worked hard, graduated from a Theological College and became a wonderful pastor. By the grace of God he forgave his uncle and loved him whole-heartedly. Eventually his uncle became a Christian! Chin-Siong also organized a children's choir and several years ago, they won a grand prize in a national contest. This soldier of Christ loves the Lord and people whole-heartedly and God made his heart a beautiful garden.
Maintaining a well-watered garden is not easy, but if the hearts of the individuals were filled with love and the desire to do what God does then it would be successful, prosperity and peace would come again. If we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts, and love God and people whole- heartedly, then the Lord will surely bless us all. God will make our hearts like watered gardens where the flowers and fruit of "love, justice, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, humility, and self-control" (Gal 5.22) blossom.
Technique of Mulching: The frustration of weeds in a garden is a whole object lesson by itself as compared to the frustrations of our mortal life. Any gardener would automatically say weeding is backbreaking and miserable. There is a parallel to our spiritual lives in this gardening secret. The solution to garden weeds is also the solution to our great spiritual dilemma. So, what is this great gardening secret? It is called mulching. Mulching is a covering for your garden. Mulching is organic material that prevents weeds from making it to light. It keeps the ground moist and protects the plants you intend to grow. If you mulch your garden with a good covering, you wont have to weed. Now God alone could be such a good covering for us. God is described as a refuge (Ps 46.1), a place that provides protection, care and nurture, a place to run to when things are bad. God is described as one who is able to bring about life-giving change - the war situation is reversed, peace prevails and fear is gone.
Christian responsibility: Christians are called to follow the example of God the Father and Jesus Christ: to be watered gardens, to share with others the water of life. The garden of your heart might just inspire some of them to go home and dig in the dirt of their own fallen nature, praying, "Search me, O God!" In literal terms, Christians are to ensure that there is a constant supply of water for human survival and the survival of other creatures. They are to have concern and respect for the environment. The greater challenge, however, is to let the living water flow through all the aspects of life: economic, political, social and spiritual. Christians are called to serve as watered gardens in a holistic manner in all spheres of life. Just say, “It is my duty to care for the garden but if it looks neglected then surely I have disobeyed the master’s orders. He intends that every traveler entering my garden might be refreshed; but if the traveler does not then I - the gardener had not been faithful to God’s command”.
The Lord himself will lead you on and on. He will satisfy your deepest needs as one appeases a raving person lost in a vast desert. Your very bones will be invigorated and you will be as fresh as a luscious garden, like a bubbling spring whose gurgling never ends.
Oh, King of life, make my life a watered garden!” Let springs of Your life giving living waters keep flowing into me, within me, and from within me. I thank You Father for sending Your Son Jesus Christ – the indescribable gift to be our Water of Life. Guide me to live a joyful, caring life style as a witness to Your love this day.