Recently a friend called me with excitement and nervousness in her voice, “I’ve been planting a garden for the last two years, and I want to invite you to come whenever you choose to pray in it.” To be honest, the phone went silent as I heard these words. What she didn’t know is that the night before had been one of the hardest in a long time. Years of exhaustion from life and simply being overwhelmed, made me feel like I could simply break. After such a long night of praying to the Lord for relief, to hear this friend’s request to simply pray in the garden felt like an answered prayer. I gladly said, “Yes!” However, as she began to share her heart for a garden where people can quietly pray and experience the Lord’s presence, I started to be reminded of just how special being in a garden can truly be.
The garden is a place that many tend to overlook. In the busyness of life, few people speak of gardens the way they speak of the beach or going out to eat with friends. Simply put, only select people see a garden as a fun hang out place. But, I believe there are some aspects of gardens that remind us of who God is and His heart for creation. Little did my friend know that God would begin to show me more about Him through this simple invitation to her garden to pray.
Today, I want to encourage you to pause and journey through five things we can learn about God when considering a garden.
God is intentional.
The Lord was the first to plant a garden. The Garden of Eden overflowed with the magnificence of God’s creation. God didn’t just make man and leave him to his own devices. He provided for Him. Everything man would need to survive and thrive could be found in the garden. The Lord had give him the warmth of the sun, the animals to enjoy, the food that they needed, and even the freedom of choice. I can imagine Adam and Eve taking pleasure in the cool of the grass and the sweetness of the fruit knowing that their Creator had made it all for them to enjoy. In doing so, life in the garden was a daily reminder that they had a God who was intentional about them. They served a God who wanted to meet them without distraction or worry that they weren’t provided for. Life in the garden was a shining example of God’s ability to provide and sustain every aspect of His creation.
And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Genesis 2:9
2. God wants to commune with us.
In Genesis 3, after man commits the sin of disobedience, we are able to catch a glimpse of life in the garden.
And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden Genesis 3:8
Yes, the Lord walked in the garden! I led to believe this is not the first time. We see God in the garden as he brings the animals to Adam to name. He is also present when He causes Adam to sleep while He creates his helpmate, Eve. I am led to believe God didn’t just create man and check in on him here and there but that His eyes were always on them and that He walked in the garden often so much that they knew the “sound of the Lord God” walking.
Even now, God wants to communicate with His creation. He invites us at salvation to “call upon the name of the Lord and be saved” (Romans 10:13). When anxious, He encourages us to cast our burdens unto Him because He cares for us (Psalm 55:22). When we are need, He tells us to ask and we shall receive (1 John 5:14). Yes, the same God who was intentional about His creation and walked alongside them, is the same Jesus who spent time with His disciples, and is the same One who desires intimate relationship with us. His heart for us didn’t end at the fall of man. Instead, He still wants to meet us in an intimate way much like He did for Adam and Eve in the garden.
3. God loves all of creation.
One thing I love about being in a garden is the sound of His creation. The sound of the birds chirping and the whistling of the wind, make my heart leap. Yet, every time I hear a bird chirping, I am reminded of what Jesus says in Matthew 6:26.
Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?
In a similar passage, Jesus declares that not a single bird falls to the ground without God noticing. What wonderous love is this that our God who put the stars in the sky can also watch over every single aspect of the Creation at the same time! When I think of it, I cannot help but to be in awe of this God who didn’t create and walk away but loves in such an intentional way. Consider the many ways God loves us.
He died for us (John 3:16)
Before we were born, He had a plan for us. (Psalm 139:13-14)
He knows the number of hairs on our head at any given moment. (Luke 12:7)
He has more thoughts about us that the grains of sand in the sea. (Psalm 139:17)
He knows our thoughts and desires. (Psalm 139:2)
He fights for us. (Exodus 14:14)
4. God is creative.
We need only to look at nature to see how creative our God is. It has been noted that there are almost 400,000 unique types of flowers. This doesn’t include the fruits, vegetable, animals, trees, or other aspects of God’s creation. God has created so much I believe humans will always continue to discover something new. Within the first seven days of creation, God showed that He had an eye for design. Even the complexities of the human body and the way each system works together is a testament of his infinite knowledge and creativity. This is so evident that Apostle Paul writes this in Romans,
For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. Romans 1:20
In other words, one need to only look at the handiwork of creation and they can know without a shadow of a doubt that there is a God. The magnificence of the sky, the colors of the flowers, the radiance of the sun are so stunning and irreplaceable that it proves God exists!
Knowing that God is creative should be uplifting to many. Remember, we are created in His image. So many are born with a gift to create. Whether you use words to create, music, paint, build, God can use our talent for His glory. Just like we can look around a garden and reflect on the creative ability of God, our giftings can shine so radiant that it draws people back to the Savior. May we never forget to thank Him for His creative power and ability to use us to create artistically.
5. God wants to be our place of peace.
It is undeniable. When we sit in a garden, we can’t help but to be filled with peace. Away from the busyness of life and the distraction of media, the garden is simply God and His creation. When we choose to take a break and sit in these natural places of quietness, we can find rest and rejuvenation. The Lord can speak to us clearly without the excess noise of the world.
When it comes to giving us peace, the Word is clear. He wants to be our safe place to run and our hope in the time of calamity.
Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6
The Lord wants to give us an unexplainable peace. We can go through the toughest moments of our lives and still have a sense of calm. This is not because we have so much inner strength but because the Lord’s presence can help to settle our fears. We need only to trust Him.
Today, I want to encourage you to get “back to the garden.” Find a space that is quiet where you can focus on the Lord, pray, journal, and even reflect on His creation. This place may be your closet, it could be the local coffee shop or maybe it is a literal garden in the back of your home. Whatever the case may be, let us run toward Him. Know that the same God who provided the provision, creativity, intentionality, and safety in the Garden of Eden is still here for us. He has not changed and still desires a walking and lively relationship with His creation.
And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail. Isaiah 58:11
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Portions of the above devotional were originally posted on ibelieve.com