(June 17, 2021) Maureen McQuillan brings an encouraging reminder…
What joy we had yesterday afternoon when our darling granddaughter Bonnie-Jane called round with our latest family addition, little great-granddaugther Avaleigh Grace, soon to be three months old. Nice to see our son-in-law, now Grandda Steve, with them but, needless to say, the centre of attention was Avaleigh!
How she’s grown in only a few weeks… and those beautiful big dark-brown eyes taking everything in, as well as grabbing our attention with her warm grins. To our delight, it’s so obvious she’s a very intelligent child.
We joked with Bonnie-Jane… ‘She’ll soon be just like you were, crawling all over the place, into everything, opening cupboard doors and enquiring about this and that, question after question.’
Bonnie-Jane laughed as she too recalled early times. It really was a wonderful time together, especially as we’d been in lockdown for a couple of weeks and hadn’t got out.
After they left l remembered fun days with Bonnie, joyfully recalling many delightful happy memories that Robert and I have. We’ve always had an incredibly close relationship with Bonnie; throughout her childhood she would often spend much time with us and, she recently admitted, still loves to come ‘round the corner’ to us (that’s how far away she, husband Matthew and Avaleigh live).
‘Grandma, God must be pooped!’ memory
Like her keen-eyed little daughter, even when Bonnie-Jane was very young she too would always be quietly observing things. Even while enjoying a Maccas, she wouldn’t rush eating her food like some other kids but sit with us properly digesting her chosen burger, quietly observing both adults and children around her.
Now, travelling down memory lane I recalled with laughter one time when she was only five years old and staying over with us. We were having our evening meal together and Bonnie had been staring out the window while eating. Suddenly she exclaimed, ‘Grandma. God must be pooped!’
For a moment I was thrown! Then forcing myself not to smile, I asked: ‘Oh. why is that, Bonnie?’ (You’ll laugh too when I tell what she said next).
‘Well, Grandma,’ that bright little girl answered so seriously. ‘Your garden looks so pretty. Everything has grown so much. God must have had to work so hard!’
Bonnie, I realised, must have been remembering the terrible condition of our garden months before… ‘Ghastly, absolutely ghastly!’ as Edith Pilchester called her messy garden in Darling Buds of May!
We both used to close the curtains so as not to see the mess outside. That ‘mountain of mud and weeds’ was now a beautiful garden that, to her thinking, had suddenly happened since she’d last been with us. Yes, but I’d had to work so hard to tidy it up!
It hadn’t happened overnight; it took time and patience! Bonnie-Jane had forgotten the tons of topsoil brought in and was unaware of my arduous work of never-ending digging and planting of trees and shrubs.
Even at her early age, I had taught her that God is in charge of everything and is always willing to help us in all of life, including working miracles for us when needed.And I’d often casually mentioned about my being tired – pooped – after working so hard, and the child had somehow linked that expression with our mighty God having helped me in the garden!
Naturally, I’d been tired, exhausted – pooped – after all my demanding work over several weeks working in my garden (‘Old’ picture left). But… God being pooped?
Kids so often amaze us with delightful out-of-the-blue comments they come out with!
But God doesn’t get tired!
On a serious spiritual note, it’s good to know that God doesn’t get pooped when working on us! We’re the garden of his heart and he sees messy – ‘ghastly’ – areas in the garden of our lives that need cleaning up in order that he might produce the beauty of Jesus in us.
And he knows the work involved in order that his plans and purposes might be outworked in our lives, that it can take time and patience on his part… yet he doesn’t tire of working on us to bring about changes.
God doesn’t have ‘a too hard work basket’ – nothing is too difficult for him; he is all powerful. In Matthew 19:26, Jesus said of his Father, ‘…with God all things are possible.’
In Ephesians 3:20, the apostle Paul wrote: ‘Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.’
Can we grasp that? Our caring, loving God knows our weaknesses, understands our shortcomings and yet is still willing to do so much for us. He just doesn’t tire of working on us, changing ugliness into beauty. It’s his business – the reality is that his love and compassion reach far beyond our comprehension.
Paul also declared that the effects and blessings of God’s grace are sufficient to change us – ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come’ (2 Corinthians 5:17). That God’s power is even made perfect in our weaknesses: ‘My grace is enough; it’s all you need. My strength comes into its own in your weakness’ (2 Corinthians 12:9Mge).
We may want to close the curtains when we look at our faults and failings – but scripture reminds us that there is no condemnation to those who have accepted God’s Son as Saviour… and are now safe in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1).
Paul had more to say on this: ‘Being confident of this, that he who has began a good work in you will carry it on to completion’ (Philippians 1:6)! Message Bible reads ‘There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.’
The Old Testament too encourages us to know that he remains the miracle-working God worthy of our praise – ’You are the God who performs miracles; you display your power among the peoples’ (Psalm 77:14)!
Allow the master gardener to have his way
Change and growth in our life may take time. We need to take Paul’s admonition to heart, believing it will happen!
When we hand ourselves over to the master gardener, we discover more of the Holy Spirit working in us. We can expect to be so changed that, because of the beauty and power of Jesus in us, we will not only delight our God but make an impact on others.
Yes, Bonnie… we may get tired – pooped – working at all the various things we get involved in, but God doesn’t. Isaiah 40:28 declares, ‘Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord … will not grow tired or weary.’
Jesus knew that his Father is the master gardener. He told his followers so in John 15:1-2: ‘… my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.’
That’s amazing, isn’t it? If the Son of God was willing to allow his Father to deal with anything that hindered in any way (including his beloved followers), may we do likewise. Let’s allow the master gardener to be about his craft and may we work hard cultivating a great relationship with the one who so loved us (his branches) that he died for us on Calvary’s cross.
To quote James… ‘In simple humility, let our gardener, God, landscape you with the word, making a salvation-garden of your life’ (James 1:21Mge).
Maureen McQuillan is a gifted communicator, ministering and prophetically into where people are at. Link: OnlinerConnect@gmail.com