The Divine Gardener
We may think that our lot in life is especially hard, and we may wish that it were otherwise. We may wish that we had a life of ease and luxury, amid softer scenes, with no briers or thorns, and no worries or provocations. We think that then we would be always gentle, patient, serene, trustful, and happy. How delightful it would be to never have a care, an irritation, a trouble, or a single perplexing thing!
But the fact remains that the place in which we find ourselves is the very place in which the Master desires us to live our life! There is no haphazard in God’s world. He leads every one of His children by the right way. He knows where, and under what influences, each particular life will ripen best.
One tree grows best in the sheltered valley, another by the water’s edge, and another on the bleak mountain-top swept by storms. Every tree or plant is found in the precise locality to enhance its growth. And does God give more thought to trees and plants than to His own children? Certainly not!
He places us amidst the circumstances and experiences in which our life will grow and ripen the best. The peculiar trials to which we are each subjected is the exact discipline we each need to bring out the beauties and graces of true spiritual character in us. We are in the right school. We may think that we would ripen more quickly in a more easy and luxurious life. But God knows what is best for us; He makes no mistakes!
There is a little fable which says that a primrose, growing by itself in a shady corner of the garden, became discontented as it saw the other flowers in their mirthful beds in the sunshine, and begged to be moved to a more conspicuous place. Its prayer was granted. The gardener transplanted it to a more showy and sunny spot. It was greatly pleased, but a change came over it immediately. Its blossoms lost much of their beauty, and they became pale and sickly. The hot sun caused them to faint and wither. So it prayed to be taken back again to its old place in the shade. The wise gardener knows best where to plant each flower.
In the same way, our God – the Divine Gardener – knows where His people will best grow into what He wishes them to be. Some require the fierce storms; some will only thrive in the shadow of worldly adversity; and some come to ripeness more sweetly under the soft and gentle influences of prosperity, for rough experiences would mar their beauty. The Divine Gardener knows what is best for each one!
There is no position in this world in the allotment of Providence, in which it is not possible to be a true Christian, exemplifying all the virtues of Godliness. The grace of Christ has potency enough in it to enable us to live Godly, no matter where we are called to dwell. When the Lord chooses a home for us, He fits us for its peculiar trials.
God adapts His grace to the peculiarities of each one’s necessity. For rough and flinty paths, He provides shoes of iron. He never sends anyone to climb sharp and rugged mountainsides, wearing silken slippers. He always gives sufficient grace. As the burdens grow heavier, the strength increases. As the difficulties thicken, He draws closer. As the trials become sorer, the trusting heart grows calmer.
Jesus always sees His disciples when they are toiling in the waves; and at the right moment, He comes to deliver them. Thus it becomes possible to live a true and victorious life in any circumstances!
Jesus can just as easily enable Joseph to remain pure and true in heathen Egypt, as Benjamin in the shelter of his father’s love. The sharper the temptations, the more of Divine grace is granted. Therefore, there is no environment of trial, difficulty, or hardship, in which we cannot live beautiful lives of Christian faithfulness and holy conduct.
So instead of yielding to discouragement when trials multiply and it becomes hard to live right, or instead of being satisfied with a very faulty life, it should be our settled purpose to live – through the grace of God – a patient, gentle, and unspotted life in the place and circumstances which He allots to us. True victory is not found in escaping or evading trials, but in rightly meeting and enduring them.
The questions should not be, “How can I get out of these worries? How can I get into a place where there shall be no irritations, and nothing to try my temper or put my patience to the test? How can I avoid the distractions that continually harass me?” There is nothing noble in such living.
The questions should rather be, “How can I pass through these trying experiences, and still honor Christ? How can I endure these struggles, and not suffer defeat? How can I live amidst these provocations and testings of my temper, and yet live sweetly – not speaking unadvisedly, but bearing injuries meekly and returning gentle answers to insulting words?”
What trials, afflictions, or hard circumstances are you facing in your family or personal life right now? Have you prayed to the Divine Gardener today for grace and strength to still live a beautiful life of Christ-like faithfulness and holiness?
I’d love to hear your thoughts and comments on this article! Feel free to leave your reflections and ask your questions below.
God bless you and your family, this day and always.
All for our King’s glory,
photo by EMFA16 | Lightstock.com
This post is another installment of Miller’s Monday Musings, a weekly series that is published every Monday on my website. The series features selected writings that have been adapted from the works of James Russell Miller (1840-1912), a much-beloved Christian author and pastor who is well-remembered for his practical thoughts on Christian home and family life. Learn more about this weekly series by clicking here.