Don’t you love to steal a moment back from childhood and blow on a dandelion gone to seed? Do you dare to watch with delight as its Whoville-like fuzzy-topped grains dip and then lift off into the breeze to soar high in the sky? I confess I do, and it’s magical to watch!
The problem is, of course, those fuzzy little seeds do land somewhere. And this year, it seems a platoon has landed to claim the beach-head that is my back garden, in the beds and between the stones on the pathway. Though I do enjoy the health benefits of dandelion leaves in my salad, these, unfortunately, must go.
With tools in hand, I begin and quickly notice that dandelions are not the only weed that I find in my garden. Others join ranks, peaking from where they once lurked below the surface, all cozied up to the daisy, or lily, or feverfew, or phlox, or lemon-balm. Stems tightly wrapped and intertwined so their leaves look like they belong.
Then Jesus told them another story. He said, “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who planted good seed in his field. That night, when everyone was asleep, his enemy came and planted weeds among the wheat. Then the enemy went away. Later, the wheat grew and heads of grain grew on the wheat plants. But at the same time the weeds also grew. Then the man’s servants came to him and said, ‘You planted good seed in your field. Where did the weeds come from?’ The man answered, ‘An enemy planted weeds.’ The servants asked, ‘Do you want us to pull up the weeds?’ The man answered, ‘No, because when you pull up the weeds, you might also pull up the wheat. Let the weeds and the wheat grow together until the harvest time. At harvest time I will tell the workers this: First gather the weeds and tie them together to be burned. Then gather the wheat and bring it to my barn.’”
(Matthew 13: 38-43, International Children’s Bible)
I’ve found out something interesting about darnel. Though they are definitely weeds, they very closely resemble and grow with the wheat so that the two are just about indistinguishable from the other. Just about. The Gardener however knows the difference. And, sigh, I imagine He knows the same of the tares that grow alongside the wheat within me too.
He is keenly aware of the difference between what has disguised itself as a seed of wheat, and has grown into an overgrown platoon within me; what has glittered and deceived, sounded too good to be true, and is. I may think myself hidden in the thicket from the Gardener, or perhaps honestly even hope it, so confused and scarred I am, regretful and contrite, but I soon discover there is no place too thorny, too deep lost or far gone, or that I can go or end up in that He is not already there, no place that I am beyond His sight. That truly both blows my mind with anxious wonder, and drives me to my knees in quiet humbleness!
God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.
I’m an open book to you; even from a distance, you know what I’m thinking.
You know when I leave and when I get back; I’m never out of your sight.
You know everything I’m going to say before I start the first sentence.
I look behind me and you’re there,then up ahead and you’re there, too—your reassuring presence, coming and going.
This is too much, too wonderful—I can’t take it all in!
Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight?
If I climb to the sky, you’re there! If I go underground, you’re there!
If I flew on morning’s wings to the far western horizon, You’d find me in a minute—you’re already there waiting!
Then I said to myself, “Oh, he even sees me in the dark! At night I’m immersed in the light!”
It’s a fact: darkness isn’t dark to you; night and day, darkness and light, they’re all the same to you.
(Psalm 139: 1-12, The Message)
I wonder sometimes if it is Him Who turns my head as I speak through my own wonder: Wait, what? Why is this happening? Why, and how, am I here in this place – again? Why am I allowing my hands to do the enemy’s double-whammy work? What happened to partnering with Abba to preserve, to grow more beauty rather than this ugliness inside and out?
Where do I go from here? Can I go from here?
Breathe. Breathe Me in. Calm, child. Look, and see that small flame that watches for danger and flickers when it is near. Listen to that small voice that whispers vigilance, cautions to the slippery slope ahead. Pause, look and listen before being used by the enemy, before responding to his baiting and tickling and deceiving of your senses to do his dirty work. Don’t be afraid, child. Lean into Me, and cast all the thorns of worry and confusion upon me. I can take care of them. I will take care of them. I love you, child, and My love for you never changes, no matter where you are – thorny thicket or golden field. Take you hand off the callouses of hurt and anguish and fear from which the tares grow, and let Me in. I want, and can, and will tend and heal. Breathe, and let my Spirit envelop your soul, renew your mind, recenter your heart, re-energize your spirit. Bend this way so I may uproot the tares, and watch as I put them in the fire. Now, bend this way so I may prepare the soil for the planting new wheat. Abundant harvest is coming. Peace. Breathe in My Peace, My very Presence. Live outwardly from this place, this timeless calm that remains eternal within and around you, and is always accessible to you.
Abba, occupy and overtake the entirety of all the beds and fields in the garden of our souls! Will you guide and re-landscape so they are resplendent in beauty and shout of your glory? Will you help us, so that your quiet strength and tender wisdom develops the wheat, yet simultaneously starves the tares of nourishment to grow? Will you fill our every moment with your gentle voice that lays all things bare to your healing, and keeps us supple and intent on partnering with you? Will you bring and keep us in that place of calm reliance and firmness in you, in the centre of your will? Will you use any good you plant in each of us to bring benefit to even more? Oh Jesus! Make your will to come to pass in us all!
After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
(1 Kings 19: 12, New International Version)
He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters.
(Psalm 23: 2, New International Version)
Soil and Seed