“For the LORD shall comfort Zion:
he will comfort all her waste places;
and he will make her wilderness like Eden,
and her desert like the garden of the LORD;
joy and gladness shall be found therein,
thanksgiving, and the voice of melody.”
She knelt beside the tender plants being careful to pull the weeds from around the red, yellow, pink. and purple frilly edged poppies waving in the morning breeze. Depending on the time of year, her garden of carnations, snap dragons, fancy tulips and Easter flowers smiled at family and friends walking up the garden path. But for Mabel, my mother-in-law, her garden had a different purpose. It was her garden of the Lord.
“Often I watered it with my tears,” she explained. “Then it rewards me with joy and gladness in its beauty. It’s here I meet the Lord and find strength to go on.”
Mabel knew what it was like to walk in the garden of the Lord, not unlike what Adam and Eve must have experienced.
The events of creation tell us –
“The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden:
and there he put the man whom he had formed…
to dress it and to keep it”
Genesis 2:8, 15.
Unlike Mabel’s garden no weeds threatened the beauty, but the Lord did instruct Adam to care for it. The beauty and the fruit of it were his to enjoy – all except for the one forbidden tree. Until Adam’s disobedience to that command he and Eve enjoyed the presence of the Lord. He walked and talked with them “in the cool of the day.” They knew the nearness of God.
Mabel knew the nearness of God in her garden, especially when faced with the many trials and heartaches she experienced through her life. But in her garden she found comfort, joy, and gladness. There is a garden of the Lord for all who will draw, as the old song says, “Near to the Heart of God.” As Asaph and the writer of Hebrews tell us –
“But it is good for me to draw near to God:
I have put my trust in the Lord God,
that I may declare all thy works…
Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith,
having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience,
and our bodies washed with pure water.
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering;
(for he is faithful that promised;)”
(Psalm 73:28; Hebrews 10:22-23)
Mabel drew near to the Lord in her garden. Adam and Eve walked with the Lord in his garden. The garden is that place we find ourselves nearest God. It’s the place we come for his comfort and leave with his joy and gladness.
Where is your garden?