God’s Gardeners

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When I think about resurrection, I think about the process of transformation and can’t go past the amazing examples that God has given us in nature; consider the transformation of a caterpillar to a butterfly, a grain of sand to a pearl, or a seed to a beautiful flower or massive tree.
Our lives parallel these examples: we enter this world as a helpless babe at the mercy of those charged with our care. If all goes according to plan, we are nurtured in a loving and caring environment to grow to be strong and confident BUT not all are nurtured in the way that God intended and unfortunately we see far too much neglect across our world and indeed in our own ‘lucky country’. This is where we, the family of God, are called to be his hands and his feet, to look after the needs of the poor and destitute.
Sometimes God calls us to play a role in the transformation process, to till the soil, sow a seed, water and nurture growth, or assist in the harvest, but whatever our role, it is important and vital in the overall transformation.
If you like gardening, you’ll identify with the joy of seeing a first bloom appear on a plant that you’ve been lovingly tending, or the pain of finding plants damaged by a storm, an animal or a stray foot. Imagine how these emotions are magnified when we replace the plants with human lives. Let’s go one step further and catch a glimpse of God’s heart and his anguish for so many in the world who are lost and broken, longing for transformation. And what about his sorrow when he nudges us to reach out to someone in need and we don’t respond? He longs for us to say ’choose me Lord, I will go for you’.
Isn’t it wonderful that our God uses us to play the part of the gardener in the lives of others, and likewise uses other ‘gardeners’ to nurture us. God doesn’t need us but he allows us this privilege because he wants us to share his heart, and as we reach out to others we not only nurture them, but our own life is enriched. God is continually chiselling away, refining us, often through the hands of others, so that we may become more and more like him. I thank God for the gardeners in my life and for those I have had the privilege of nurturing. I particularly thank God for being able to witness some significant ‘harvests and blooms’ at HopeStreet recently, seeing the results of years of nurturing from many faithful servants I have never met. Praise God for:

  • Five guys who recently received housing after being homeless for many years
  • Some of our Employment Training Employees who have successfully secured permanent employment outside our program, and one who is now running his own business
  • Our Women’s Space program and for the lives it impacts on. In particular Rose, who after many years of homelessness and visiting the space, received housing, is wanting to secure work outside of sex work, and has expressed a desire to know God and attend church.

It is truly beautiful to see someone who has almost given up on life blossom or be resurrected into a new person, and it is such an honour to be one of God’s gardeners tending his precious plants.
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18

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