Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Grows in Your Garden? What fills Your Heart?

Greetings in the name of the Risen King! And Happy Easter!

When God raised Jesus from the dead, God declared that life is victorious over death. Or as St. Paul puts it in his letter to the Corinthians: "Death has been swallowed up in victory." "Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?" But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Cor. 15:54-55,57).

There is no such thing as a static, end state of our lives called death. Not in spiritual, emotional, intellectual and relational matters, and ultimately, not even in physical matters. After each death we experience, new life is born. For example, if a way that we think “dies,” a new way of thinking will be born in its place. If a relationship dies, a new relationship of some kind will blossom. The new life does not replace the old life exactly, but new life continues to emerge and take shape. Never does death have the last word. Life always follows death. This means that death is not such a bad thing, because it creates space for us to live in new ways.

Imagine a precious plot of land, where there is only so much space for plants to grow. If weeds fill 60% of the garden, flowers will only have 40% of the space to flourish. Anyone who prefers flowers to weeds knows that this is no good. But if the weeds died, the flowers would have more space to grow.

Let’s say that fear fills up 60% of our hearts, then trust only has 40% of our hearts to inhabit. That would mean that fear has more power in our lives than trust. This is no good. But if fear were to die, then in its place trust or hope or assurance could blossom.

Think back to some of the ways you have already died in this life. What grew in its place?

Our hope in a gracious and compassionate God is that the new life that blossoms is more beautiful and loving and wise than what was there before. If not, if say bitterness or hopelessness took root, then it’s time to offer that life back to God as a sacrifice. Pray this: Lord God, please give me new and redeemed life where this old and corrupt life now abides.

I think that every time we die, God sees it as an opportunity to perfect us in his love. May we not be afraid to let parts of ourselves pass away, knowing in faith, that God will restore our lives and bring us to the glory of his salvation.

Then the one sitting on the throne said, “See, I am making all things new!” (Rev. 21:5)

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