Lessons from the garden
By Ai Hiong Sim
It’s 5.30 pm and I’m relaxing in the garden. There’s a gentle breeze, and I feel comfortable and peaceful. I’m admiring the beautiful flowers which my husband has planted – such a beautiful array of colours ………red, white, pink, yellow and maroon roses; white, pink and purple periwinkles; bright red and white geraniums; and several bushes in different shades of green. My heart sings out in praise and I found myself singing one of my favourite hymns written by Carl Boberg, “……then sings my soul, my Saviour God to Thee ; how great Thou art, how great Thou art!”
As I sit here admiring the flowers, I put my thoughts on paper. What lessons can God teach me through these beautiful flowers?
The flowers are definitely beautiful to look at, and they really bring joy to my heart. In Genesis 1:11-12 God created various kinds of vegetation, which I believe include flowers. God saw that it was good. I feel so blessed that my God would create such beauty for me to enjoy! Then I am reminded of another passage of Scripture in Matthew 5:14-16. Jesus reminds me that I am the light of the world, and that I should ‘ let my light shine before men, that they may see my good works and praise my Father in heaven’. My life should reflect God’s love and goodness, and people should be drawn to Jesus through my words, my actions, and my lifestyle.
I feel a sudden gust of wind, and as I feel the wind blowing in my direction, I can smell the lovely fragrance that comes from the flowers – what a fresh beautiful fragrance! The Bible tells us in 2 Corinthians 2:14-16 that we are to be the ‘aroma of Christ’, the ‘ fragrance of life’ among the people we come into contact with each day. Allow me to share a devotion I read recently. ” One-day author Rita Snowden was visiting a small village in Dover, England. She was sitting outside a cafe one afternoon, enjoying a cup of tea when she became aware of a beautiful scent. Rita asked a waiter where it was coming from, and was told it was the people passing by. Most of the villagers were employed at a nearby perfume factory. As they walked home, they carried the fragrance that permeated their clothes out into the street. – Sheridan Voysey.
When we are in the company of others, our company should be refreshing, and we should reflect God’s love and joy. When we do this, we can make this world a happier place. Wouldn’t we love to hear people saying, ” this is such a happy place to be – it must be the company of Christians here?!”
I’m looking at the rose bushes. The flowers are in different stages. Some are still buds, others are full bloom, and still others are almost withered and dry, with only a couple of dry petals left. This reminds me of the brevity of life. I’m reminded in Isaiah 40:6-7 NIV that ‘ all men are like grass and all their glory is like the flowers of the field. The grass withers and the flowers fall’. I’m reminded, that like the grass and flowers whose beauty don’t last forever, we don’t remain young forever – we will grow older as the years go by, and our strength and energy slowly diminish with age. So, we should give God the strength of our youth, to serve Him, and not wait till we are old, and our energy is spent. Ecclesiastes 12:1 tells us to ‘ remember our Creator in the days of our youth’.
That doesn’t mean we stop serving God when we grow old. Psalm 92:12-15 encourage us to ‘still bear fruit in old age, and to stay fresh and green’. There is no retirement in serving God. We may not be able to do as much as we used to when we were younger and more energetic; but we are called to be faithful in whatever we can still do.
I’m reminded of another blessing as I enjoy the flowers. I remember the wonderful promise of God’s love and care that’s recorded in Matthew 6:25-34. I should not be anxious about the necessities of life – what I should eat or wear. If God looks after the birds of the air and the flowers of the field, then He will look after me. If I seek first His Kingdom and His Righteousness, then He will supply all my needs. Every day I learn not to be anxious but to trust God to provide every need. He has always been faithful, and He will remain that way, for He is the same yesterday, today and forever Hebrews 13:8.
What a lovely relaxing time I had in the garden, and what precious thoughts the Lord has given me! No matter how busy I may be, I will take time to stop and smell the flowers and be blessed by what God may say to me. I recall a song sung by Jim Reeves many years ago.
Ai Hiong, a regular contributor to this website is a retired Christian educator living in Perth. She attends the Kingsway Methodist Church. They host a weekly Seniors cell group in their home.