A few years ago I was telling a friend some difficult things I was going through. After describing my situation and things I was experiencing, she said it sounded like God was digging in deep. He was pulling some weeds, tilling the soil, doing some dirty work… because he was planting something new. He was laying the foundation for a garden.
You know those moments when God finds a way to speak a perfect word to your heart? A word of peace, of joy, of comfort… Whether it comes through the words of a friend, seeing something that speaks to you, or a sense in a chapel or out on a hike, God finds perfect ways to communicate to us. (Which He probably does way more often than I actually pick up on!) Looking back on those words from that friend, I see clearly how God was speaking to me in that moment and how in that time God was laying groundwork for me to step into my vocation of marriage.
Today’s Gospel, Jesus’ parable of the sower, brought me back to the beautiful word my friend gave me years ago and the sense of consolation that came with it. My heart longs to be that of rich soil, not the path, rocky ground, or thorns which do not receive and cultivate the word of God and bear fruit. Jesus’ words have me asking myself, What does it mean to be rich soil? It seems that a heart poised to receive is key – to receive the words of our Father in prayer, through the Scripture, through a friend or experience. However God comes to us, we must be open to receive Him. In this way the rich soil of our hearts may actually take in, nourish, and give life to the word of God and grow a garden that can bear fruit.
This image of a garden moves me more deeply than I can describe. I have a feeling it is because the Garden is what we were created for. Our hearts were designed to inhabit God’s perfect Garden. There is a deep ache within each of us for that paradise, especially as it represents perfect communion with our Father. Perhaps we can each take a moment today to find the garden God has sown in each of our hearts, where we can meet Him naked and unashamed. We are a work in progress, surrendering again each day to the Gardener’s perfect hand. May we allow Him today to enrich the soil of our hearts and lead us into communion with Him. He wants to walk with us. And in these days of much anxiety, uncertainty, and fear, we must remember He is always walking with us and making our hearts into a garden.
To continue praying and reflecting on this imagery, I highly recommend listening to Matt Maher and Audrey Assad’s song Garden here.
You walk with meGarden · Matt Maher | Composer, Lyricist: Audrey Assad
You never leave
You’re making our world a garden