Thriving in All of Life’s Landscapes

“Oh come, let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! Psalm 95:6 

God recently gave me an up close and personal message on Psalm 1. The object lesson unfurled while I visited the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. While the crisp, gray air rustled the barren branches outside, I walked through a lush canopy of verdant trees and flowing waterfalls dotted by glimpses of vibrant butterflies and the songs of cooing creatures. As I took in the sights, the juxtaposition of the external bleakness and this fertile interior triggered a recollection of Psalm 1:1-3 --

“Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on His law he meditates day and night.

“He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers.”

Cle Botanical Garden pic 20181223.jpg

Prior to my Garden visit, I had been doing my best – in the middle of a very busy holiday season -- to focus on God’s creation. I was trying hard to implement a little advance test-run of the journal prompts found in WOW’s 2019 Calendar: Praying through our Pens. WOW’s hope is not only to share the 2019 prompts on our blog and Facebook page, but also to record our personal experiences as we follow the prompts ourselves. January is my month to contribute a post, and while I was excited about what God would unveil, I also questioned whether holiday festivities might distract me from my mission. I should have known that our faithful God would work in and around me to show me His genius in the middle of an afternoon excursion.

At first, I simply was mesmerized by the lush greenery and lively colors of the butterflies dancing around me. As I continued to wander down the botanical paths, however, I sensed a whisper in my soul.

“This is the picture of life with God,” my soul resonated. “No matter how bleak one’s surroundings may be, a soul that delights in Him will be lush with life. Though the earth is iced over, your heart will overflow with Living Water. Though the trees and vines are barren, you will bear fruit in its season. Though the leaves are withered and falling, your life will be ripe with resiliency.”

Friend, it is amazing enough that God stopped me in my tracks to give me a Bible lesson in the Botanical Gardens. But He gave me far more than an object lesson that day. Indeed, He gave me a testimony. You see, over the past several years, life dealt me some struggles that left me parched and dry at times. Yet, rather than allowing me to stumble toward fleeting fixes, God continued to draw my gaze back to Him and the truth of His word. The more I delighted in Him, the deeper my faith roots grew. And the deeper the roots burrowed, the more His fruit flourished in and around me – no matter how the landscape looked.

So, yes! As Psalm 95:6 encourages, I will worship and bow down! I will kneel before my Maker! For God is good and true and worthy to be praised. And He reminded me of that during a visit to an indoor garden. Oh, come! Let us continue to adore Him!

-- Linda R. Maynard © December 2018