Prayers from the Island God’s Garden

God’s Garden

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Flowers Along a Garden Path Each morning I walk among my plants, searching for new buds, trying to determine the status of plants wounded by winter’s frosts, appreciating the daffodils, pansies, and pinks.  One day I see no buds; the next I find buds well advanced on branches previously bare.  I watch my plants carefully, drawing pleasure from their sturdiness, worrying over their illnesses, excited over their successful blooms.  I think God must sometimes feel like a gardener, walking over the face of His world.  We are His plants.  He worries about our survival, our failure to flourish, our setbacks, and He must celebrate with us our successful blossoming as His people. God, I pray that you will help me grow and bloom; may my life bring you glory and be a source of good for others. Amen.

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Treasure HuntTreasure Hunt

My husband collects floats that wash ashore.  When we discover one on the beach—especially if it’s in good condition—we congratulate one another and eagerly bring the Styrofoam ball home as if we’d stumbled over treasure.  It’s true we have no good use for them, though they presently encircle the sign naming our house, float from our dock, or sit in the yard.  Purposeless.  How often my Bible reading resembles this ‘treasure hunt’.  I come across a verse that speaks to me or to the situation a friend is in, but once I’ve found the verse, I let it sit in my mind’s backyard, never quite putting the verse to use.  I need help Lord, to incorporate your message into my daily life.  Remind me to phone a friend or write a note, to pass along the verse so its value may be increased.  Each word from your Bible is a gift; help me share the treasures you’ve so freely given to me. Amen.

Thanks GivingThanks Giving

Our first Thanksgiving on the island seemed strange. After all, I was accustomed to Puritans and northern Indians, a barren November landscape, food designed to warm the body and ward off chills. Here on the island Thanksgiving is often celebrated wearing shorts and sandals, in tees and tank tops. The food is lighter and less filling, fit for warm weather. Eventually I came to understand it doesn’t matter what the participants wear or what they eat—what’s important is what’s being done. The harvest is in, whether that harvest is northern crops or southern cotton and sorghum. God has manifested once again his bounty and his love. Our giving of thanks has nothing to do with dress or the formality of service; it is intended to be a sincere acknowledgment of our dependency on God and his open hand of generosity. Thank you, Lord, for the bounty you share with us throughout the country and the world. May we share this bounty with one another as you have been generous with us. May we praise and thank you for all you bestow. May we make each day a day of giving thanks to you. Amen.

Ouch!Ouch!

I limped around the house this morning, feeling an irritation against my food but unable to locate the cause. Each time I searched my shoe and sock for something spiny, I could find nothing; yet when I put them on again and tried to walk, the same painful stab returned. Finally I comped the sock with my fingertips until I found a broken piece of sand spur that had lodged near a thick part of the sock. Its spike tips were causing the irritation. Such a small bit of spur to generate so much discomfort! I think of my ‘small’ sins, those little acts of omission or commission which seem so trivial, but which eventually cause me—or others—pain. Selfish behavior, reveling in someone else’s losses, petty revenge, gossip, laziness, failure to speak out when there is injustice—these, like the sand spur, wound both God and me. Locating these ‘minor’ irritants may be difficult but necessary. Forgive me, Father, when I fail to behave like your child. Please strengthen me and grant me the resolve to do your work with diligence and love. Help me get rid of the smallest of sins. Amen.