I had never considered what such identity of God might mean to me or to the world around me. Yet here is one of the first passages in the Bible where we are introduced to who God is — and God is not a warrior or a judge or even a sovereign being. He is at first, a gardener, nurturer of life, protector and planter, designer, keeper, and pruner concerned with life’s flourishing.
My own experience with gardening brings to mind an entirely different set of emotions and dispositions than what I consider God to have: Delighting in dirty hands, investing into the life I’ve planted, the thrill of fruit, the gentle attentiveness to life, the compilation of so many different factors in perfect balance — wind and rain, sun and predators — and the pleasure of simply being near it all.
As a gardener I find that, when I am most weary of the despair and injustice of the world, my garden gives me, for inexplicable reasons, hope.
Such a reading about the world’s creation and the thought of a kind gardener tending to me, stirs a response akin to that of a man after God’s own heart: When I survey this vast world, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars and all that you have established, what are mortals that you are mindful of us? Who are we, human beings in varying states of despair or joy or smallness, that you care for us with the loving eyes of a gardener?
Magnificent and intimate, powerful and gentle. God as gardener, whose deepest concern is life’s flourishing, makes no clearer a case than in Easter’s undoing of death and the vicarious humanity of the resurrected Son.
This Maker of all creation, the Gardener who carefully tends to the world and the signs of its groaning, is surely at work even now making all things new (Revelation 21:5).
Adapted from: Salt & Light
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