29 Oct 2019
I think that what we suffer in this life can never be compared to the glory, as yet unrevealed, which is waiting for us. The whole creation is eagerly waiting for God to reveal his sons. It was not for any fault on the part of creation that it was made unable to attain its purpose, it was made so by God; but creation still retains the hope of being freed, like us, from its slavery to decadence, to enjoy the same freedom and glory as the children of God. From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth; and not only creation, but all of us who possess the first-fruits of the Spirit, we too groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free. For we must be content to hope that we shall be saved – our salvation is not in sight, we should not have to be hoping for it if it were – but, as I say, we must hope to be saved since we are not saved yet – it is something we must wait for with patience.
Jesus said, ‘What is the kingdom of God like? What shall I compare it with? It is like a mustard seed which a man took and threw into his garden: it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air sheltered in its branches.’
Another thing he said, ‘What shall I compare the kingdom of God with? It is like the yeast a woman took and mixed in with three measures of flour till it was leavened all through.’
It is like a mustard seed that a person took and planted in the garden. When it was fully grown, it became a large bush and the birds of the sky dwelt in its branches
I’ve recently found an interest in gardening that I never knew I had. Being in Singapore, living space is a premium, let alone gardening space, and while I don’t actually have a garden in the way we know it – with the grass and trees – I have carved out a small little spot on the tarmac that I have gradually populated with various potted plants. It hasn’t been a bed of roses (excuse the pun) but it has been an experience of trial and error, of mixed emotions, and dare I say, even a cathartic one.
I have found a quiet excitement when I see things growing, a tremendous joy when things that I thought dead are revived, dismay when things die or get attacked by bugs and disease. I’ve found curiosity and amusement in understanding the plants’ various needs, patience in waiting for fruition, and sense of satisfaction and accomplishment upon their flowering. In the process, I have found myself to be calmer, more patient and caring. I have found healing and takepleasure in nurturing things. And maybe, that isn’t very different from what the Kingdom of God is like.
I don’t profess to know what the Kingdom of God really is. I do believe that it is not a physical place that can be found by man (as alluded to in Luke 17:21), but again in that same line, the “Kingdom of God is in your midst”. Well, what does that really mean? In my humble belief, we are all born with a little mustard seedling of what could be the Kingdom within us. If we nurture it and take care of it, give it the right nutrients and sunshine and water, it may well flourish and if God is in our lives and takes precedenc in all our thoughts and actions, well I truly believe that it would show through in our personality and a presence that other people can perceive for themselves. If you give love – and God is love – those around you will feel love, not enmity. If you project joy, others will partake in your joy as well. If your heart is warm and open, people will feel more drawn to you and welcome your friendship. If all that is godly and good within us shines forth, is that not God’s work at play? Our family and friends and those around us would feel comfortable in our presence and feel us more approachable and loving. Would they not then be like the birds in the sky that come to us and find comfort and safe dwelling in our branches? When all is well with our inner being, our soul rejoices. When we have weeded out the bad in our lives that stunt our growth, allowing us to bloom and flourish to our fullest potential, well… that would most certainly be like watching a dying plant come back to life again with new little green shoots.
All our “garden” needs are a little patience, a little care, a little perseverance when things go awry, and it will flourish for all seasons to come. Not only are we cultivating ourselves, but we are cultivating God’s love that others too can perceive and enjoy.
And to me, when all is good in our spiritual garden, that is the Kingdom of God that dwells in each one of us, a manifestation of God in our midst. A wonderful “garden” that radiates peace, gives joy, and is such a projection of individual beauty that God has marked out for us.
(Today’s Oxygen by Annette Soo)
Prayer: Lord, we pray for patience and perseverance with ourselves as we tend to our spiritual gardens. May we give it time, attention and the right nurturing that we may one day overcome our “weeds” and flower and fruit and become a garden for others too.
Thanksgiving: We give thanks to God our Father for this seed of love and hope within us, that we are even worthy in the first place for it to be sown in our hearts. For this, we humbly thank you.