On a visit to my sister’s place in Roseburg, Oregon, I was lamenting the woes of life and lost love. Depression had settled solidly upon my life – and was even forwarding its mail to my address! So this trip was a trip to “get away’. Trouble is, I brought it with me in a carry on suitcase.
My sister listened as I poured out my heart. She watched as, day after day, I stared out the picture window overlooking her lush garden, immobilized by sorrow and unable to enjoy life around me.
Finally, she said “Sweetie, if you are going to be depressed, at least do something!” She handed me a toilet bowl brush and pointed to the bathroom, saying “Get busy!” As I scrubbed, she came in and put glass cleaner in my other hand and paper towels on the counter. I obeyed. Then I noticed the trash needed emptying, so I grabbed that on my way out.
She asked if I felt any better. “Maybe a little bit”, I replied.
“Good, ‘cause I want you to go for a walk in the rose garden next.”, she handed me a sun-hat. “Oh, and while you are out there, there are some weeds that need pulling.”
Sigh. I obeyed.
As I walked in the garden, dragging my burden of despair on my back, I began to notice the different shapes and sizes and colors of the roses. Some were long-stemmed, with a single rose, others like a beautiful candelabra with 6-7 flowers on each stem. There were pink ones and red ones, lavender and peach…. But the grandest of all was a glorious white rose bush. It took my breath away. I could not take my eyes off of it. Something about it just drew me nearer. As I looked closely at the largest bloom, there in the center I saw Christ! As clearly as I see a person I am talking to face-to-face, there he was. His smile was broad and full of love. I heard Him say “I made this. I made it for you. I love you.” My heart leaped for joy! Suddenly, the reasons for my sorrow were lifted. I was loved! Rushing in to tell my sister, I shouted “Sis, sis you won’t believe what I just saw….. I saw Jesus in the rose garden!”. She cried and laughed at the same time, and hollered “Praise God! I was praying that He would reveal Himself to you in the garden as you walked.”
Well, that He did, and many times since then I have seen His hand on my life. Whenever I hear that old hymn, where the lyrics go something like this: “I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses” it takes me back to my introduction to the King, there in an Oregon rose garden.
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Very moving, Laraine! The image of walking in the garden with Jesus has always been a powerful one for me. From what I remember, the man who wrote the song had a dream and awakened with the imagery in his mind. I believe that the biblical setting for the song is the morning of Christ's resurrection, when he appeared to Mary Magdelene.