“Do not fret because of evildoers, be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass and fade like the green herbs. Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land cultivate faithfulness. Delight yourself in the Lord; and He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your ways to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. He will bring forth your righteousness as the light” Psalm 37:1-6.
Yet, the mud caked under my fingernails. Thorns from nearby roses embedded under my tender haven’t-gardened-yet-this-season skin. Misguided roots persistently blocked the patch of ground selected for the new plants. I’d forgotten how much work gardening can be, especially in land that has suffered seasonal neglect.
Flowers sat on the side awaiting their assigned seating in the garden. When purchased them at the nursery, I had only imagined them planted with heads prouldy reaching for the sky. I only saw their beauty.
I hadn’t planned on getting dirty.
Beautiful things compel us to dig in and wear pain. Pain makes a place for beauty to dwell. It’s true in the garden and in life.
I watched three loved be baptized this week. As I listened to them describe their journey to the water’s edge, I thought about the pain they each had endured to make way for the beauty of Christ to be displayed in them. It hadn’t been an easy for any of them. For each, they had dug through hardened dirt, twisted roots, and painful thorns to stand before their community of friends alive in Christ, their Healer. Yet rolling up their sleeves, with the help of Christ His glory went proudly on display; heads held proudly and hearts humbled tenderly. From the pain there was a joyful harvest of beauty.
I think about my own journey, most notably my journey of late. There’s been much digging into hardened ground. The muscles have fatigued and the heart has frequently fainted. There are days when I think the ground is too hardened for flowers. There are others when I think I am too soft to finish the planting. There have been too many days where it seems that all I have to show is mud-caked hands.
I never planned on getting dirty. Yet, this weekend reminded me that the beauty is worth the pain.
Are you tired? Trust in the Lord. Cultivate faithfulness. Make way for the beautiful.