Before any garden work begins, there are decisions to be made. Choosing which plants to grow and where to grow them. What are the soil and sun conditions and what will grow best in which location. Carol Woodward says in her book, Your First Garden: A Guide for Beginners, “From the beginning, a garden should be planned for the future. There should be a design for the entire property, a harmonious planting scheme that will link the house to its surroundings.”
When we planned our native garden we had to choose plants that liked wet boggy soil for some parts of our garden and plants that liked dryer conditions for other areas. We had to think about the size of plants and maximising our views. The overall garden plan at the initial stages is as important, if not more important than the ongoing maintenance of the garden to get it established.
The choosing and planning aspect of gardening reminds us of God the master designer. He chose how he would create this world and he also very specifically chose how he would create each of us.
Take some time to read through these Scripture passages and reflect on God as your creator, designer and carer.
2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 (MSG)
Meanwhile, we’ve got our hands full continually thanking God for you, our good friends—so loved by God! God picked you out as his from the very start. Think of it: included in God’s original plan of salvation by the bond of faith in the living truth. This is the life of the Spirit he invited you to through the Message we delivered, in which you get in on the glory of our Master, Jesus Christ.
Ephesians 1:3-12 (NLT)
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. 4 Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.[a] 7 He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins. 8 He has showered his kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.
9 God has now revealed to us his mysterious will regarding Christ—which is to fulfill his own good plan. 10 And this is the plan: At the right time he will bring everything together under the authority of Christ—everything in heaven and on earth. 11 Furthermore, because we are united with Christ, we have received an inheritance from God, for he chose us in advance, and he makes everything work out according to his plan. 12 God’s purpose was that we Jews who were the first to trust in Christ would bring praise and glory to God.
So don’t be misled, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Whatever is good and perfect is a gift coming down to us from God our Father, who created all the lights in the heavens. He never changes or casts a shifting shadow. 18 He chose to give birth to us by giving us his true word. And we, out of all creation, became his prized possession
1 Peter 1:1-5
This letter is from Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ.
I am writing to God’s chosen people who are living as foreigners in the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.[a] 2 God the Father knew you and chose you long ago, and his Spirit has made you holy. As a result, you have obeyed him and have been cleansed by the blood of Jesus Christ. May God give you more and more grace and peace. 3 All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, 4 and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay. 5 And through your faith, God is protecting you by his power until you receive this salvation, which is ready to be revealed on the last day for all to see.
God has followed a design from the beginning, and his plan continues unfolding through the Biblical accounts of his engagement with his creation. This continues into our very lives today. God is and has always been mindful of each of us.
Every garden begins with intent, when a garden is planned it is planned with the future in mind. A tree will start small but will eventually take up a large space in the garden. A garden design allows for future growth. Just as a gardener decides what and where to plant with intention, God has also chosen us and placed us, anticipating our growth.
Songs for Reflection
Indescribable – Chris Tomlin https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IlVfkY5q54
God of Wonder – Third Day https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1CBNE25rtnE
The Stand – Hillsong https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UbiErL_pc8M
All Things New – Steven Curtis Chapman https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_sf4g9LaBEw
Wonderful Maker – Jeremy Camp https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfTQA6m_IQI
In the beginning, Lord,
I was alone.
Like the earth,
before your Spirit moved over the waters
I was formless and empty,
and darkness filled the depths of my heart.
Then, it was as if you declared
‘Let there be Light’,
and out of the darkness
I began to see hope,
like a shimmering ray of love
breaking through the parting clouds at the conclusion
of the night.
In the beginning, Lord I was alone,
but when I saw you in the light I was no longer afraid.
You held out your hand,
and though I had a choice
I had no choice,
because to refuse
was to embrace again the darkness.
In the beginning, Lord I was alone,
Now I feel again a part
of your creation,
loved, wanted, needed, family.
In the light of your presence,
I hold out my heart that others
might glimpse through it your reflection,
and be drawn from the darkness that I once embraced
into the light of your sunrise,
the brightness of your face.
In your time, Creator God,
this world was put in place,
and in your time
through the craftsmanship of your love.
Remind us always
as we look at a sunrise,
landscape or tiny child,
to look beyond the artist brush
or created thing,
to the artist and creator.
You may want to read this short article on God, Man and the Garden
For something a little different listen to this song from New Zealand Christian band, The Lads. It’s a bit quirky but there is lots of truth in those lyrics.