This summer we actually went shopping for rocks! As you might expect, it’s not hard to find rocks here along the Front Range of the Rockies. In fact a lot of landscaping is done with small rock to conserve water and with larger rock, known here as river rock, for those areas prone to run off in sudden mountain thunderstorms.
But I wanted rocks with character for a small garden area with perennial flowers, a birdbath, and bird houses. Hence the actual shopping and payment of $. We found some medium-sized rocks with lichen, brought them home and placed them in pleasing arrangements, then planted day lilies, daisies, cone flowers, and a butterfly bush.
Not long afterwards, Molly and I walked along a path where rocks had spilled over from some construction work. It was a dry area with no irrigation or sprinklers like parks or our back yard.
Here I discovered God had thought of rock gardens way before us and created some wildflowers that could survive in the dry, rocky soil. Even with their shallow root system, this year’s abundant rain has made these yellow and pink flowers a refreshing sight and reminded me of the diversity of God’s creation. (The colors are pretty hard to see in the photo, but they were there!)
But soon the rains will mostly end, and at this altitude of about 5, 000 feet, the sun will sear these plants as if they were on a grill at a summer cook out.
A rainfall will revive them, but they will never grow tall.
Not so in our garden. We dug deep holes so our plants would have room for their roots to grow deep to provide support and sustenance when rains are sparse and hard winds blow (which is most of the time around here). The plants are already tall and bright.
Here again is Durer’s painting the Great Piece of Turf, and if you look closely, you’ll see he has allowed some roots to show at the base of the plants. Perhaps he was thinking of the Parable of the Sower when he did that.
In that parable (Matt. 13:1-23) Jesus compares different kinds of soil to the hearts of different people and how they receive God’s Word.
He said that like plants in rocky soil that don’t have deep roots, people without deep roots in God’s Word will fall away when trouble comes.
And trouble will come in this broken world—the strong winds of personal loss, the drought of being without a job, the searing heat of a difficult relationship—and at those times our hearts need God’s healing words and promises deeply rooted to sustain us.
Just as in our garden we dug deep so our plants could develop deep roots, that’s the best way to begin to develop deep scriptural roots—dig deep into God’s word on a regular basis. When we study God’s Word regularly we see how He cares for His people in tough times.
Most of all, we see Jesus, who came and lived among us, experiencing all this world’s troubles, but without sin. We see God’s love for us when Jesus died on the cross so we can be forgiven and become part of God’s family. We learn that Jesus, who understands our weaknesses, intercedes for us before the Father, and the Holy Spirit helps and comforts us.
What are some ways you can help your heart become good soil for God’s Word to take deep root?
What are some rocks you may need to roll out of the way just as the angel rolled away the rock from Jesus’ tomb so His disciples could see and believe in His resurrection?
Next post: a painting and printing project for children relating to wildflowers and gardens. Don’t miss it! Sign up to receive my posts by email.