"Totally overgrown and out of control." I'm chuckling as I reach for the "candy bowl" full to the top with cherry tomatoes, the crimson ones I call normal yummy and the orange ones that burst sweet when bitten into. "I feel so..." I pause looking for a word to describe abundance, "rich. This being able to gather ingredients and snacks from my backyard. Really, it's amazing!" I'm giddy with gratitude.
But I'm not joking when I say it's overgrown. In spite of the family workdays in the garden when everyone diligently tends their section, weeds are everywhere, invasive and deep-rooted. I am hunched over, determined, with a spade nearby in case of those roots that refuse to budge and oh how this reminds me of the state of my heart. How I resolve it will be one way only to find that my self-will is invasive. Deep-rooted.
Eventually I am tugging roots from earth while in my spirit pulling up the roots of pride, greed, unbelief. The work is tedious, requiring patience -- patience being one of those precious commodities that sprouts after constant, purposeful attention. It's only when I finish an entire patch of garden, the soil turned a bit, unfettered by weeds that I get a visual of my heart after repentance... a visual of grace, soil of my heart turned a bit, unfettered by sin.
And yet, all the while my garden produces full bowls of tomatoes, strawberries, raspberries, cucumbers, corn, carrots. The grace of all that deliciousness in the midst of the mess and tangle. I don't deserve all this goodness, this abundance. Sure, this is my very first garden ever... and I've learned an awful lot this summer... and I think I'll do better next summer... but...
grace is like this.
My efforts will never come close to earning His favor. No matter how much I toil or try... no matter how many items I check off my to-do list... or all the good deeds I accomplish... or how many times I fail in a day... or how often I come up short... His love goes on forever. Forever it will always be about Him and His works, His grace, His mercy, His sovereignty. The abundance of Him Who satisfies every longing, His joy in the midst of the mess and tangle. Forgiven. Unfettered. His goodness in my life in spite of myself. His invitation to follow Him in spite of a tangled, messy heart. I reap a harvest of goodness because of grace. His grace.