Looks Like the soil in my backyard is richer than I thought. It’s dark, sandy, full of worms…and lessons for me.
As I was digging up yet another patch of ground for my ever-growing garden, I encountered roots. Well, technically, it was one root, but more about that later. When I ran across the first one, I simply pulled out the mattock and chopped it off, grumbling about it all the while. It wasn’t long before I hit another, then another. Eventually, I realized that all these little roots were attached to a much larger root. This one was gnarly and as big around as my wrist. No mattock was going to chop through it. Out comes the ax. All this time, mom and dad had been carefully supervising (read: sitting and watching) my work. After watching my feeble attempts at swinging the ax, dad came to my rescue and rid my garden of the pesky root. Or…root system! This thing branched out in every direction! By the time I cleared my little plot of them, I bet I had thirty feet of roots.
I couldn’t help but think about the root of bitterness that the Bible talks about. (Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Hebrews 12:15 NLT). If I had left that root in my garden, my plants couldn’t have grown properly. There’s no way I could plant them in neat rows, since the roots were in the way. Plus, it just took up too much room! Much like bitterness in our lives. When we refuse to let go of past sins and failures, when we refuse to forgive those who hurt us, those unresolved, unforgiven things can dig deep in our hearts and take root in the form of bitterness. Before we know it, a whole bunch of smaller hurts start piling up too. And, like the root in my garden, it just takes up too much room! The fruit that should be growing is pushed aside or damaged or dwarfed by the bitterness. Soon it wraps around every thought, word, action…leaving little room for the fruits God desires for us: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Galatians 5: 22, 23 NLT) But, we can pull it up! With our Daddy’s help, we can cut out and pull up the root of bitterness that has us bound.
Now what happened to my bed of dirt when we pulled the root up? Remarkably, pulling it up did much of the work I was doing with a shovel. It broke up the ground on the way out and made it soft and ready for planting. It was hard work and it hurt (the root and me!) but now, I should be able to grow beautiful vegetables without fighting the sinister root.
So…what’s growing in your garden?