The Little Garden
Ruth Ann sighed heavily as she looked out of the window. Before her was the garden, comprising a small area of grass bordered by flowers. A few recent showers of rain had freshened up everything and the grass was a beautiful green.
Ruth Ann was a resident in a nursing home. No longer able to walk she was confined to a wheelchair. In a short while the nurse would come and take her outside so that she could enjoy some time in the garden and feel the warmth of the sun on her frail body.
Usually she looked forward to such times outside, but today she wasn’t sure if she wanted to leave her room. She had been looking through a photo album of days long, long ago, when she was a little girl, and for the time being she was lost in her memories and felt she did not want to be disturbed.
She sighed again. She was looking at pictures of the family on a camping trip. The camp site was on park land and all around were rolling hills with luscious green grass and a few wooded areas. She and her two brothers had loved to climb up the hills and then roll down, screaming with excitement and joy.
Oh how she would love to see those hills again. The little patch of green outside her window would not satisfy her today; she would tell the nurse she would stay indoors.
She thought of the picnics they had had and the games they had played on the vast areas of grass. She began to feel sorry for herself and shed a few tears. Why did life have to end like this? She felt so alone. Her husband had died long ago and their only daughter was so far away in Australia.
But Ruth Ann was a Christian. She loved the Lord and in her younger days had been very active in her church. She had been a counsellor and had led others to the Lord. She had shared the blessings of the Lord with shut-ins.
As her heart cried out for comfort and love, she began to see that although she was in a wheelchair, and now herself a shut-in, she still had a lot to be thankful for. She could not see or run up and down the beautiful green hills anymore, but outside was a little patch of green grass that reminded her that God still made things grow. The flowers were beautiful too and often she could hear birds singing their praises to God.
She opened her Bible and turned to Psalm 23. She knew it so well, but somehow today it seemed extra special. “The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want.” What a comforting thought. He was there to take care of her. He would meet her needs. He loved her.
“He maketh me to lie down in green pastures. He leadeth me beside the still waters.”
The Shepherd would lead her to pleasant places. She didn’t need the hills of her childhood; the Shepherd had better things for her.
Ruth Ann read on. How could she have felt so sorry for herself when she was under the care of the Shepherd, the Good Shepherd.
Every verse was a comfort to her. “He restoreth my soul”. Lord, refresh me, she prayed. I need to feel you near to me.
She read on to the last verse. With tear-filled eyes, not from self pity this time but with happy emotion, she read it aloud: “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.”
She looked out of the window again. This time she sighed with contentment. The garden was nothing like the hills she had enjoyed as a child, but it was beautiful too and a part of God’s creation.
“Forgive me Lord for my self pity,” she prayed. “Thank you for this place you have provided for me. Thank you for that little patch of green grass outside, reminding me of the greener pastures to come in Your own good time. “
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