Small shoots of green peeking above rich, dark earth. This should delight my gardening heart. And it would if they were the evidence of the bulbs I planted a few weeks ago. But they are not. Instead, they are the stalwart beginnings of dandelions and sorrel, steadfastly pushing their way back to the top of the earth so that they can flourish in the spring sunshine.
But I just pulled those weeds last week!
Only I didn’t.
I didn’t pull them out, roots and all. Instead, I took my hoe to the patch of weediness, chopping them into smaller bits. And then I covered the chopped bits with mulch and said, “Good job, gardener!”
But then came the rain. And the weeds popping up all over again.
Because that is what rain does. It brings to light what is truly planted just beneath the surface. In all my vehement hoeing, I neglected to take out the roots of the weeds. And even though I was zealous, I was not careful and absolute. And when the rains came, they showed my labors for what they were.
How like my life! When the sun is shining and my circumstances are all I think they should be, it is easy to disguise the true contents of my heart. I may pretend to vehemently chop at the sin in my heart, the secret thought patterns and ideas that don’t please God with the hoe of words. I may acknowledge their existence – but I do not root them out, taking the time and doing the work of introspection, of taking every thought captive, of falling on my face before God in true repentance. I don’t pull the weeds. And when the rains of negative circumstances fall, out they pop. The word I would “never” use spews out at the driver who cut me off. The repeating refrain of worry creeps out when an unexpected bill comes in the mail. The siren song of self-pity sings to me as I compare myself to that other girl and find myself lacking – or worse, better off. The rain of my circumstances brings to light the true nature of my heart.
How much better off I would be if I had pulled those weeds in the first place! Time in the Word, time spent in prayer, time filling my heart with things above – this is the active work of pulling weeds.
So that the next time it rains, I reap only the benefits – and not the weeds.