Have you visited a beautiful garden lately? I mean the kind where you walk around and ooh and ah at all the lovely trees and flowers. There are lots of them near us in the West Palm Beach area. My brother and sister-in-law make it a habit to visit two or three of them each year on their annual trip to Florida. And they prompt us to do the same.
There’s something refreshing about being outdoors and surrounded by lush vegetation. I enjoy sitting on a park bench and quietly observing all of the things God has created and man has manicured and tended. Our backyard in Kansas is like a lovely park. I never tire of sitting on the patio overlooking it all and reading a good book.
I think God likes gardens, too. Did you ever notice how many significant events in the Bible occurred in gardens? God created a garden home for Adam and Eve where He visited with them every day. It must have been gorgeous! When they had to leave their paradise, there were still flowers and trees to enjoy, and edible plant food. But they waged a constant war with weeds and pests. Nothing was accomplished without work, sweat and tears.
When Jesus was preparing to die, He sought refuge in a garden. He took His disciples to the Mount of Olives and prayed beneath the olive trees. At Passover time there was a full moon lighting the grove. Can you picture Jesus kneeling there as He poured out His heart to the Father?
When my husband and I visited the Holy Land, we enjoyed lingering in a beautiful garden where it is believed that the empty tomb is located. Can you imagine being with Mary when she came to the garden early in the morning to anoint Jesus’ body? What a shock to find the tomb empty! She saw someone in the distance. And thinking him to be the gardener, asked if he knew where the body was. He turned and said one word. It was her name: “Mary.” Immediately she recognized His voice. And suddenly all of the sorrow of the last few days was turned to joy as she walked and talked with Him there.
That’s the story that Austin Miles was reading from John 20:11-18 when he wrote the song “In the Garden.” It’s a favorite of many people, but often regarded as a sentimental reflection on fellowship with God. It’s so much more than that when you put it with the real story behind it. The question is: Do you enjoy walking and talking with Jesus in the fellowship of His resurrection? How is your garden experience going?
Someday, those of us who know and love the Savior will have the joy of walking and talking with Him in a new paradise. A heavenly garden prepared for us. Are you ready?
“In the Garden” from “A Grandmother’s Legacy”