I have always loved planting plants. Perhaps it’s because of the time spent as a kid with my grandparents in their massive garden, or maybe it’s because it’s in my genes – my dad has always loved working in the yard, and often let me help with planting projects. I dream of one day having a greenhouse in our side yard, where I can plant our fruits and veggies. A place where I can teach our kids about plants and dirt and life. A place where they can learn from me, but also a place where they can learn from the Master Gardener.
When I lived in Tulsa, we planted one way. When we lived in Edmond, we planted another way. And now that we live in South Texas on the edge of Hill Country, we plant another way. I was never really fond of cactus and “succulent” plants. But now, I’m learning to see their beauty. They alone can brave the rock and very little topsoil. They alone can handle the drought and the sun and the heat. And they thrive.
They thrive because it’s part of the plan. Beauty is all around us. The springtime in this part of the country is incredible. Wildflowers are abundant, and beauty is truly in every frame of the camera lens. We’ve had some rain recently, so they are even more lush than normal. The Master Gardener has a plan.
If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time, you probably know that I’m currently doing a Bible study called “Meet Jesus” that is going through the book of John. Today I read John 8:12-30. It’s a powerful passage where once again Jesus is defending himself to the Pharisees, and explaining who He is and who has sent Him. But what was the verse that stuck out to me? Not one of the ones in bright red on the page. Not the words of Jesus. No, just a simple little statement the author stuck in when he wrote. The end of verse 20 says “Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come.” I guess what made it stick out, (other than the fact that God had a plan and wanted it to stick out to me!) was that it’s not the first time John in his writing has said similar things. Growing up in church and hearing lots of stories about Jesus over time, I guess it never really sunk in that these people hated Jesus. Not just at the end when they suddenly decided to crucify him, but all along. They hated him. But one thing and one thing alone kept them from imprisoning him years earlier. That one thing? God’s master plan. “His time had not yet come.”
Just as God sent me on a walk this morning and brought me a smile by putting this tiny little bunny rabbit in the yard, He sent Jesus on a walk. A walk through Israel to teach His people. It just wasn’t time for anyone to seize him yet. So they didn’t. By the power of God. You see, God is the Master Gardener. He knows the number of wildflowers in my yard. He planted each of them. He knows the number of thorns on every cactus on this acre and a half. He placed them there. He knows the exact moment that the Mountain Laurels will first bud. He knows where every little bunny rabbit lives, and provides them food. He knows the chirp of every single bird, and calls them by name. He has a plan. The aphids I hold great disdain for where placed on each plant by His hand. Even they are part of His plan.
When my life doesn’t go the way I want it to, when hurt and pain come into my life and I question why He has allowed them there, verse 20 is my answer. “His time had not yet come.” God has the landscape layout on his planting bench in Heaven. He knows not only what the garden looked like yesterday, two weeks ago, and five hundred years ago, but he also knows what it will look like tomorrow, two weeks from now, and five hundred years from now. And everything that I do, everything that we do, everything that He does, everything He allows, is all working toward that final master plan. I will probably never see the final layout that He’s working toward, and as a human, that is frustrating. But I can rest easy knowing that He IS the Master Gardener, and He DOES have a plan, and all things will happen in HIS time. When the time comes, it will happen. Good, bad, happy, sad, it will happen according to His plan. And someday, I will return to the earth, and that will be part of His plan too. And because I believe, my body will stay, but I will live with Him forever… and maybe, just maybe, He’ll let me work in His garden.