So I submitted at article to Relevant Magazine a few months back. They didn’t publish it. (Perhaps, I’m not American. Hehe! Or maybe they just have loads of submissions to go through.) —> however I don’t want this piece to just sit (unshared) in my archives. So here is a little something I wrote:
Why sitting in a garden is good for your faith
Let me start off with a confession. Even though I am a pastor – I do struggle to sit and just read scripture. (I guess working for the church, sometimes the Bible seems like a “textbook”.) But I have discovered that sitting in the garden has been super helpful in my relationship with God. This is how and why:
1) I realized we share this planet.
As I sit, with a cup of coffee, I just look around in our garden. It’s teeming with life. There are various species of birds eating the seeds I scattered on the ground earlier that day. There are little sparrows, cooing doves, Red Bishops, Crested Barbets and I see some Swallows darting above too. (Perhaps, some of these species don’t inhabit other countries. But each country has birds unique to that environment.) I feel a gentle breeze blow across the garden. I notice the setting sun.
I am overwhelmed that we share this planet with these little creatures. Seriously, what are birds to us? We don’t really need them, do we? I wonder, what was God thinking?
I’d like to believe He wanted us to enjoy our time on this planet. And so He placed “little reminders” of Himself on earth. He placed beautiful things all over. From incredible majestic mountain ranges, fresh snow falling, the vast and wild ocean to the colourful birds chirping in our gardens.
2) Encourages me to be still.
I am so good at filling my life. I make it way too busy. Whether it’s church work, doing hobbies, watching series or films. Doing exercise or playing soccer. My life gets full! I find sitting in the garden, either alone or with my wife is so therapeutic. So relaxing. Reminds me of that great scripture in Psalm 46: 10:
“Be still and know that I am God.”
We all need that stillness in our lives. How about sitting in your garden or a local park?
3) Growth in the garden shows me that life is a process.
From winter, through to spring and now into summer – I have observed the changes in the garden. In the colder months, the ground was barren. The grass was brown and dry. Almost looking lifeless. Flowers hid themselves from the harsh cold. But as the warmth of spring and summer came… the flowers started to bloom. The grass turned into a luscious green. One could feel the joy in the garden.
Seeing all of these changes over a few months reminded me that life is a process. We all have to go through “growing pains” – we all need to experience different seasons in our lives. Some are “cold” and difficult. Others are full of life. But as I noticed in the garden: there is growth.
Likewise in our lives. Growth does come. Trust in the process. God is the ultimate Gardener in our lives.
4) These words fall from my lips: “Creator God, You fascinate me.”
Have you realized this yet. “Every single day the sunset is different from the days before and the days to come.” What’s with that? How do you explain it? And if we look directly above, clouds never seem to form the same shapes either. They’re always different. Unique.
It’s as if God is painting a new skyline for us, every single day. The response needs to be praise.
“Wow, God, you are amazing!”
When, I see the beauty and wonder in the garden around me, and the sky above, I am drawn into a deeper place with Jesus. His hands that welcome me are the hands that have created this stunning world! Amen!
5) “So that no person is without excuse…”
We read in Romans 1: 20 “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have clearly been seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
That’s one of my all-time favourite and convicting verses. Creation in a sermon. Creation points us to the Creator. God made, this beautiful world. Let’s embrace it and draw closer to the Father’s heart. And as Coldplay aptly sang: “See the stars, see how they shine for you.”