On a hot June day, with a silent and grumbling heart, I pulled into the parking lot, the heat of the day pressing down and unrelenting no matter my task at hand.
Me here to serve, and my heart not really here.
And the project before me…this abandoned lot…ridden with weeds and needing restoration, a need for the weeds to be gone…as many as I could remove in one hour. It beckoned and begged for help, with most of the weeds completely dead, yet standing tall and strong; Dried memorials of the vigor with which they once grew.
One full hour of pulling weeds, alone…
Just God, the weeds, the heat, and me,
for ONE. FULL. HOUR.
The kids piled out of the car…all five of them, and as I got them settled, set my stopwatch, and I began pulling, one by one by one; Making my way down the endless weed-ridden sideyard of the parking lot.
And the ticking of time echoed as the kids played at a distance. And the thoughts almost audible in my mind raced, as I began to notice some things about these weeds. Simple observations made obvious to me as I closely handled them, just me and them, all alone.
And could it be there was a message for my pitiful grumbling heart amidst a parking lot full of weeds?
As I pulled one dead weed after another, it amazed me that although they were dead, they were everywhere. And I noticed several things about them as I worked to free the hindered soil from their presence:
- They appeared very dead, yet persisted, and were still standing tall and strong
- Their roots were deep and very stubborn, making it extremely difficult to pull them up quickly and requiring much work, strength, and perseverance to pull the entirety of their root up
- Some that looked dead at first glance, still had the greenness of life in the deepest part of their root…a sort-of dead-yet-dormant state
- And their thorns and thistles caused pain upon handling, making fingers sore, despite the protective gloves I had worn
And even amidst my grumbling and indigence, God pursues, and He is good …and there moments with weeds and a message for my heart, straight from His…
These dead weeds…
Aren’t they just like our sin?
The weeds we have allowed to creep into the soil of our hearts?
That even if we have become aware of our sins (these weeds that have infiltrated our hearts)…
And we willingly have decided to deal with them…and kill them…and turn from them, in order to move toward Christ…
That often there are dead remnants still left behind…looking ugly and dried up, yet standing tall and strong and unwavering…
Calling us to constantly evaluate our soil and begging the remnants to be willfully removed?
And isn’t it true that our past can be so ridden with weed remnants, that even when they appear to have been killed and look dead, on further inspection and evaluation, their roots still contain some dormant life?
That there is a slight greenness of life still present in the deepest part of the remnant’s root?
And isn’t it true that to really heal from our past sin and pain, we must go back to those dead and ugly remnants, that still stand tall and strong…
Memorials of the life they once held…
The grip sin once had on us…
And we must pull up their stubborn roots, and excise them once and for all?
And doesn’t this cause much labor and work…
Effort and perseverance…
And bring pain in the handling?
And that to discover a small bit of green-life in the assumed-to-be-dead-remnant, really requires and demands a willingness to die to it all over again?
A re-hashing of the issue, in order to remove it once and for all?Romans 6:6-8, 11-14 (NASB) Knowing this, that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace.
Oh how hard it is to go there.
To remember and to feel and to really pull them up completely.
Oh how they poke and prod on their way out…
And we get dirty and messy remembering…
And isn’t it in the thorough removal, that the healing and potential of the growth of life comes?
And when we are done, aren’t we filthy and tired…yet satisfied?Matthew 5:6 (NASB) “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”
As the hour ended and I looked back on the cleared stretch of soil that was the result of my solo effort, I was satisfied.
- The dirt was even and level and bare, boasting of all its potential right there before my eyes
- The soil was at rest and cleared of the debris, ready for fertilizer and tilling and restoring of fertility and potential
- There had become plenty of room for a new crop of good and perfect things, of beautiful living plants and flowers and trees bearing fruit
- A soil ready for new growth that won’t be disgraced or choked out by the dormant and dead remnants that had been left behind
And as I packed the kids in the car, and drove away, I gave thanks for His faithfulness in this message to my grumbling and complaining heart. That even in the wretchedness of my attitude…in my service He met me…and I was changed.
May You, oh God, help us to see the dead-dormant remnants of the weeds of our hearts. Help us to see them, deal with them, pull them, and heal from them, receiving Your forgiveness, and forgiving our own hearts, that our soil would be rich and ready for You…and that your seeds would to take root and flourish and grow…that they may bring about fresh, fragrant, and vibrant new life.Psalm 97:11-12 (NASB) Light is sown like seed for the righteous, And gladness for the upright in heart. Be glad in the Lord, you righteous ones, And give thanks to His holy name.
May you, dear friend, eradicate the remnants, that you would be healed and your heart’s soil restored, is my prayer…
Do you have remnants that need to be removed once and for all?