Working at weeding

Photo by Marek Levak on

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James 4:17 TLB Remember, too, that knowing what is right to do and then not doing it is sin.

My most disliked job growing up was weeding. It was even worse than picking okra or cucumbers without gloves while wearing a short-sleeve shirt on a bright hot humid July afternoon. At least when I was picking the okra or cucumbers, I could look forward to eating them. The only thing to look forward to with weeding is to be finished with weeding.

Yet I soon learned that weeding after a good rain had potential of being (somewhat) enjoyable. A firm measured yank on a weed in wet soil had a good chance of being able to get that whole weed up and out of the ground, roots and all. There’s a bunch of satisfaction found in tossing that weed + root ball through the air into the compost heap. (And this is especially true, if you can hear a good plop when it lands!)

So, while pulling out some weeds from our flower beds earlier today, I was struck with the thought – could God use rainy-day circumstances in my life to ready the soil of my soul for a good weeding? Could He utilize the hard and its’ tears in life to moisten and thus, soften the soil of my soul? And in the doing, this could help make it easier for me to be willing to apply a firm measured yank in repentance to get that nutsedge of knowing-it-all, lambsquarters of those little-white-lies, or dandelion of discontent up and out of my life?  

That plantain of nobody-will-ever-know pleasure, crabgrass of being crabby, or chickweed of conceitedness will not just take over where their seed or rhizome landed. They will consume an entire garden of a life if left unchecked. And in the doing, they will choke out or cover over any fruit trying to grow. This is true for weeds in my flower beds or my church’s front row.  

It’s one thing to mow over a weed. It’s something else entirely to pull it out, roots and all. The same principle applies to sin in the garden of my life. I think I can just clip that sin back with church attendance or controlling my environment. Yet I haven’t pulled out the problem; I’ve just pushed it back. Trust me, if I don’t get that weed out today, it’ll be waiting for me tomorrow. And usually, it’ll be more vigorous and deeper rooted and thus, even harder to get up and out of my life. This principle about weeds applies to my backyard and my blind spots.

I’ve learned the hard way that sin-weeds don’t go away without hard work. I’ve also learned that the hard work of confession, accountability, and repentance needs to be done daily, even if it’s my most disliked job…

Yet my Good Gardener God is gracious to use all kinds of days to help with the task of growing fruit, including those rainy days to soften the soil of my soul for sin-removal. He gently guides me in this work while reminding me of the Eden I’ve never known and leading me to the heaven yet to come. A heaven where all gardens and all lives will flourish in fruit-bearing without any tears or trials, disappointments or defeats, worries or weeds.

Psalm 51:17 TLB It is a broken spirit you want—remorse and penitence. A broken and a contrite heart, O God, you will not ignore.  

written by and copyrighted to Beth Madison, Ph.D., 2023.

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Published by Beth Madison

author, speaker, learner

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