A Friend of Jesus
The Simple Pleasure of Just Breathing
It has been 5 weeks since I last posted. Seems I got caught up in the busy-ness of life again. Work has been crazy and stressful lately, and about three weeks ago I was in a car accident which has left me temporarily without transportation. I remember thinking when it happened, "what next God?" Then I was reminded to praise first and cry later. As I walked around the truck surveying the damage I said, "thank you God for protecting me and Wagsley in this enormous truck."
Of course after an accident there is the insurance to deal with and finding transportation to work and of course figuring out how to do all those important errands that you had planned for every weekend. I realized after the first weekend that those errands weren't all that important and it was God's intention that I slow down and take more time to just breath. I'm not crazy about my job. Most days I feel like I am drowning and not getting anything done. So many times I feel as though I am being smothered by the job and can't breath.
Today was the first day in over a month where I just took it easy. Wagsley and I went for several walks. We played with his frisbee and his ball. He chased a couple of other dogs in the park. I took my shoes off and walked in the cool grass, carefully avoiding the dog poo. I sat in the warm sunshine soaking in the sounds of children splashing in the pool. I waved at neighbors and talked to God. This evening I opened the front door and the bedroom window and let the in cool breeze. I had a cup of coffee and stood on the patio for a while gazing up at the twilight sky, clear and deep blue. The last rays of sun making silhouettes of the trees. Highway noise was all I heard. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply. It was good.
These are simple but necessary things to restore the soul from stressful work days. I don't always remember the sabbath to keep it holy, because I am consumed with getting things done. There is a part of me that just wants simple. I don't want the clutter of this life. I want to sit on my porch and listen to music and feel the sunshine or the gentle breeze on my skin and just "be" without having to do. It isn't laziness. More than anything it is the desire for peace and stillness where I can hear God's voice without all the noise.
Imagine Jesus after creating the world. Full Stop
John 1:2-3 "He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him not even one thing came into being that has come into being."
We go to work 5 days a week and think we have earned two days off. Jesus created the world in 6 days and only took one day off. Talk about hard work! I've been thinking about planting a garden and I get exhausted! Imagine Jesus creating an entire eco-system and every plant, animal, and all the complex minerals, are you serious?! I know that I am just a human, and Jesus is God. God is all knowing and all powerful so maybe creating the world in 6 days wasn't such a task, but I wonder. After all, He did rest when he was done.
I don't think God ever said, "I hate my job. All these things I have to do to sustain life. I need a vacation from this mess." I think He takes great pleasure in the lives of His creation. I don't think He is pleased with the sinful behavior of mankind, but when He was done creating, the Bible said that He saw that it was good. There is still much that is good about God's creation.
Imagine Jesus planting the garden of Eden. He placed man in the garden to tend to it. Gardening is something he intended for us to do. Passages of scripture talk about God dealing with man as if we were plants, pruning and grafting are mentioned. The following verse is one of my favorite:
Psalm 1:3 "He will be like a tree planted by streams of water, Which yields its fruit in its season, And its leaf does not wither; And in whatever he does, he prospers."
Why is it that I have such a horrible time growing plants?
God is a gardener and we are the plants. Paul uses this analogy when talking about the fruit of the Spirit. If we are rooted in the Spirit of God, we will produce fruit that demonstrates that connection. Jesus' parable of the sower gives many different examples of seeds that are planted and how they grow differently or not at all. Not all of us will produce a harvest, but we all have that same potential.
The life of a plant is fairly simple. It begins as a seed, dry and lifeless. The seed is planted and watered and something amazing happens. It Sprouts! The water causes the seed to germinate and begin it's journey to becoming a mature plant. The roots grow down into the soil, the sprout grows up searching for sunlight. The soil, the water and the sun all provide nutrients that help the plant reach it's full potential. What a picture of the trinity.
Imagine this - the Father is the soil where we are rooted, the Spirit is the water that refreshes and Jesus is the sunlight that causes us to thrive. He is the all-sustaining God, the master gardener. It is when our roots are in the things of this world, or we are quenching our thirst with toxic water, or have blocked out the sun, that we become fruitless withered plants that are of no use to God. A gardener will dig up such plants and throw them into the compost heap. Imagine Jesus tending to us with love and tenderness. His desire is that we all produce fruit.
I remember my father planting a garden when I was a child. His father was a gardener and had won many awards for his beautiful flowers. My dad loved to grow vegetables. I remember the first time he gave me a green bean fresh off the vine. He said, "eat it." My response was, "it isn't cooked." He said, "Just try it." I did, and to this day, I prefer them fresh off the vine. Tomatoes are better when you pick them and eat them as you walk through the garden. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are all better when you are picking them. Standing under a cherry tree with cherry juice running down your chin is also much better than shopping in a grocery store.
The simplicity of life can be summed up in this. We were made to thrive. Plant yourself firmly in the soil of God's love. Let the Spirit water you, and reach for the Son with arms open wide in praise. Get ready for harvest. It's gonna be big!
Luke 13:18-19 "So He was saying, “What is the kingdom of God like, and to what shall I compare it?19 It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden; and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the sky nested in its branches.”
John 15:5 "I am the vine, you are the branches; the one who remains in Me, and I in him bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing."
Genesis 2:8-9 "The Lord God planted a garden toward the east, in Eden; and there He placed the man whom He had formed. Out of the ground the Lord God caused every tree to grow that is pleasing to the sight and good for food; the tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."