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"Come and see what God has done,
his awesome deeds for mankind"
We're excited to be starting a new series called 'What He Has Done". So often, we forget that God is continually working for our good, but this series invites us to 'come and see...His awesome deeds' - it's pretty self explanatory really! The wonderful Chanel starts us off with a post about what God has done for her...in a garden. We hope you enjoy!
Have you been pouring yourself into a hope or dream, doing everything you can to achieve it, sharing your joy about it with everyone around you, and still feel like you're coming up empty handed?
Maybe you’ve been investing in a special project, a relationship, something you really believed was God’s will for you?
I recently read through the story of the rich young ruler again. Sometimes it is easy to read passages like this and feel pity on an ancient Bible character who just missed the point, and perhaps even smug relief that we’ve got a better understanding of salvation than he did. But maybe this man hits a bit closer to home than we would like to admit.
Let’s go through the story again. The man asks Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life, to which Jesus predictably responds with a question before referring him to the 10 Commandments. The man claims to have kept these commandments. Jesus then tells the rich young ruler to give up all he has and follow Him, but the man just can’t let go.
He had kept the law hadn’t he? Wasn’t that enough?
God has a sense of irony I think. How can this young man claim to have kept all the commandments? How could our Creator, who knows our weak human nature, expect us to keep them?
I find myself echoing the disciples: “Who then can be saved?” What hope do we have?
In my later teenage years I became increasingly aware of my tendency to get anxious and, while my experiences have mostly been mild, at times I still find myself paralysed by anxiety. One of my coping mechanisms has been to take up vegetable gardening, which has physical, psychological and emotional benefits. Warning: side effects may include turning into an ‘old soul’!
However gardening also continues to teach me spiritual lessons.
So often I find myself playing a game of trial and error. I plant a seed, water it, protect it, remove threatening weeds, care for it, and wait in hope for it to grow. Some days the outcome looks positive - the sun is shining, predators are nowhere to be seen and the environment is just right. Other days the predators have come out in full force, other plants have stepped in the way, the rain just won’t seem to stop, and my plant just isn’t happy. It can be painful.
There are often steps I can take to adjust the plant’s environment, but sometimes these conditions are just too far beyond my control. I can plant the seed, put in all the hard work, invest myself fully - and so I should.
Our Creator loves to bring new life out of empty situations and I believe we were made to create in His image. We must keep sowing seeds even when we don’t know when or how the plant will grow.
But no matter how much I invest in my garden, I still I cannot cause that seed to grow. I can’t even begin to understand the science behind how it could grow!
The rich young ruler wanted a quick fix. He wanted some rules so that he could hide behind his good works. But God isn’t asking for your perfect deeds. Why else would He have asked for something impossible? He isn’t expecting you to have everything under control and always have your life together. He wants you to give Him full control.
There is no quick fix when trusting God; It is a daily choice to surrender.
He wants the deepest relationship with you, and for that He needs your trust.
Do you have difficulty trusting? I do. Maybe having some rules to follow seems easier than surrendering all our plans to God. But hasn’t he proven himself trustworthy? What about that hopeless situation you never thought you’d see the end of? That relationship you cared so deeply about, that was replaced by something far more special? We see his faithfulness to us in the story of His word.
The commandments weren’t simply rules to follow - they were supposed to lead us to greater intimacy with God.
When I am overwhelmed by situations in life that I have tried so desperately to steer in the direction I had hoped and planned for, I find peace in my garden, knowing that good things take time and someone else has everything under hand. Someone far wiser and far more loving than me is in control, is working things out far better than I could ever imagine, and He doesn’t want me to worry! He is offering us the deepest relationship - and all He asks is that we walk this journey with Him by our side.
Chanel is a youth leader at her local church and is currently working towards becoming an Architect. She loves building relationships with young people, challenging herself to always learning something new, and travelling to learn about how different communities live and see the world. She is also passionate about the power of creativity in influencing people's lives and in encouraging others to find their creativity and use it.