One morning, not long after my first cup of coffee, there was a gentle knock on my door. Glancing at the clock I thought, “Who could it be this early?” After walking over to the door I called out, “Yes, who is it?”
“My daughter…” I know that voice, it’s Jesus.
“Lord! I wasn’t expecting you,” I exclaimed having thrown open the door. “Please come in.”
“Not today my daughter. Today I’d like to walk with you in a garden.”
My thoughts flew to the song about walking in the garden alone with Jesus while the dew is still on the roses. One of my long-held desires had been and still is walking with Jesus like the song promises. “Yes Lord, that would be lovely!”
“Then take my hand, my daughter,” Jesus said. In an instant, we stood outside a tall brick wall overgrown with vines and a rusty iron gate. “Would you open the gate?” Jesus asked. The gate looked like it hadn’t moved in years. I wasn’t sure that I had the strength to budge the heavy gate or free the rusty hinges. I glanced at Jesus wondering if this is a test but His eyes only reflected love and encouragement. I gave the gate a tug and found that even with all of the rust it did not resist. “Excellent,” Jesus said offering his arm. “Shall we walk?”
As we walked the garden path my disappointment and anger grew. What looked to be a patch of daisies was overrun with thistles. The box elder hedges had not been pruned and shaped in years. The beauty of a flock of daylilies was marred by tall thistles. Oh, there was so much more that was wounded and misshapen. So many flower beds where nothing grew but weeds. What broke my heart the most was the roses, an army of tall horseweeds had smothered them to the point that only one weak blossom could be seen.
“Lord,” I cried. “What have they done to your garden? Why? How? I don’t understand.”
“My daughter, this is not my garden. This is your garden. Everything about you is the garden of your heart. The gate, so long disused, is one that only you can open. The flowers and weeds spring from seeds that you planted through your obedience and sin. The vines that protect the walls thrive on the fertilizer of bitterness and unforgiveness.”
I fell to my knees, overwhelmed with all that I saw. “Lord, what am I to do?”
“It’s not what ‘you’ are to do it is what we will do together. You and I will work together to pull the weeds, prune the hedges, fertilize the flowers, kill the pesky vines of bitterness and unforgiveness, and restore the gate so that you may open your heart and share your experiences with others.”
It has been a long journey since that day when I walked alone in the garden of my heart with Jesus. Many hours and much toil have been spent cleaning the mess I’d made. Sometimes, just when I think that we have covered it all we discover a newly sprouted weed or an alcove that has lain hidden. I can firmly confirm and affirm that Jesus does want to walk with each of us while the dew is still on the roses. However, it is not in some hidden garden of perfection that Jesus desires to meet us. His desire is to walk with us in the garden of our own hearts.
Inspired by the teaching and testimony presented by Sandy Dirks, VMTC Ministry School June 2014.