You will say to me then, “Why then does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” But who indeed are you, a human being, to argue with God? Will what is molded say to the one who molds it, “Why have you made me like this?” Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one object for special use and another for ordinary use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience the objects of wrath that are made for destruction; and what if he has done so in order to make known the riches of his glory for the objects of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory.
Everyone who knows me will tell you that I am a gardener. My neighbors will attest to witnessing my work in my yard almost every day from April to October. My friends know that I am a member of a local garden club, Garden Club of Virginia and Garden Club of America. They know that I subscribe to gardening magazines and joyfully receive gardening gifts. My children still complain about being dragged through botanical gardens and museum floral exhibits on family trips. My husband frequently observes that I spend too much money on landscaping. Here is my full confession: I hate gardening. I don’t like the heat, the filth, the bugs and often the smells of yard work, and I cannot even mention my feelings about the weeds. But what I really hate is the disappointment. I am not a good gardener, and I should be. My great-grandparents were career farmers. My grandfather was an educator and gentleman farmer, and my mother grows prize-winning roses. I do the work. I plan. I prepare. I am informed. I seek advice from experts and novices. But my garden always disappoints. My hard work is not rewarded by sweet, juicy delicious tomatoes. My flowers are not vibrant and fragrant. Regardless of my best laid plans, my shade flowers wither without light, my sun flowers wilt in the heat, the deer eat my “deer resistant greenery,” and my produce is small and bitter. I mulch, pull, and even secretly chemically treat the weeds, and they are the only thing that thrives under my attention.
Each spring, I try again because I so desire beautiful, productive gardens. I want to serve garden-to-table meals in August. I want to give my friends glorious bouquets of seasonal flowers and smile when they say, “are they from your yard?” I want to put photos on Facebook of my backyard oasis with a caption that reads #GardenGlory. So, I persist. Despite my discomfort, frustration and feelings of failure, I keep trying. Upon reflection of this passage, I realize that I am to God what my garden is to me. I live in the abundant undeserved glory of his mercy and handiwork. He has planned and prepared for me in every way. He has shaped me, and his greatest desire is to see me thrive. I fall short of God’s plan, but I never fall short of his loving patience and the riches of his glory.
Prayer: When I go to the garden, I will remember that God has planted me and wants me to thrive. As I seek his will and embrace his abundant mercy, I am grateful for his patience, and I will strive to be all that he has formed me to be.