The jasmine is in bloom. They meander and tangle themselves all along the fences of our property.  I know what time of the year it is simply by their arrival.  It’s spring.  Along with them come a canyon full of unwanted shrubs.  Usually the ornery off-shoots of the scattered pepper trees.   Recently I stood at the edge of our balcony and gazed upon the landscaping and thought to myself of the plants which were intentionally positioned not only to act as a hedge of protection from fire, but bring to all of us who claim the canyon as our own, beauty and interest.  And now they were buried in a sea of weeds.

The analogy came quickly for me and my focus turned towards the sky as I remembered a time when there were so many ornery off-shoots of scattered sins in my own life, that everything God planted for me was nowhere to be seen.  Those sins choked out the potential for any masterpiece that God was waiting to create.   I was suffocating and had nearly flat-lined, spiritually.  And then one day, I came to myself.  With my head bowed into the bathroom sink, I cried out to my Savior and He came to my rescue.  A simple call to Him and some time on my knees pruning out the bad through confession and repentance, I rose renewed, refreshed, restored, redeemed and re-committed.  Just like that, I was washed white as snow.  The landscape of my life was revealed.  The weeds were gone.

Oh, what a merciful and gracious Savior we have.  Provisions abound.  Let me share with you dear friend, just two Bible passages that are my spiritual maintenance program:

“This is the message we have heard from Him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all.  If we say we have fellowship with Him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin.” 1 John 1:5-9.  And one more lest you think He’ll get tired of you showing up every day with the same stuff… just like that old pepper tree…. “My soul continually remembers it and is bowed down within me.  But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, His mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:20-23

The landscapers came on Monday.  They worked nearly twelve hours to groom 100 feet down and 120 feet wide.  Low and behold the beauty is revealed.  One would have thought that nothing good could have grown in all that mess.  Not so, the century plant was thriving, and so were the rubber trees.  The ivy made its way to places I had hoped it would find.  And once again the analogy appears; “I perceived that whatever God does endures forever; nothing can be added to it nor anything taken from it. God has done it, so that people fear before Him. Ecclesiastes 3:14  What He planted in me was still alive.  I had a garden and it was still alive.