Christ came to meet me in the garden of my soul, but I was busy. He was longing to share fragrances of love with me, but I was distracted tending to someone else’s garden.
Maybe you know this experience? Maybe like me you are someone who cares for other people as a pastor, counselor, caregiver, or parent. You may be in danger of compassion fatigue or worse, ministry burnout. (Did you know that ministry burnout is the number one reason that pastors leave the ministry?)
Oh, to hear Jesus calling us in his garden!
We can find deep and lasting satisfaction through intimacy with Jesus.
We can tap into hidden reservoirs of living water — of the Holy Spirit’s agape love and strength that bless us and the people we interact with — by meeting with Jesus.
He’s calling! His arms are open to us!
The poet’s grief can awaken our hearts to Jesus calling:
The Wind, One Brilliant Day
The wind, one brilliant day, called
to my soul with an odor of jasmine.
‘In return for the odor of my jasmine,
I’d like all the odor of your roses.’
‘I have no roses; all the flowers
in my garden are dead.’
‘Well then, I’ll take the withered petals
and the yellow leaves and the waters of the fountain.’
The wind left. And I wept. And I said to myself:
‘What have you done with the garden that was entrusted to you?’
Longing for God
Antonio Machado wrote this poem nearly a century ago. His wife died early in their marriage and his grief left him like a barren garden, thirsty for living waters, crying for comfort, longing for God.
The most precious gift we could receive is to have Christ walk and talk with us in the garden of our soul. He calls to us with an odor of jasmine. He offers his Spirit to live in us like a fountain of living water.
Are you in your garden to hear his voice and drink from his fountain? Have you been taking care of your flowers for Jesus? Do you have any roses to share with him and the weary travelers who happen upon you?
You may be so busy and stressed that you have nothing from your garden to give away other than withered petals and yellow leaves. You may be so tired that caring for other people has become a heavy burden. Your sense of God’s presence may have faded away like a passing breeze.
It’s Not Too Late!
The Lord longs to be closer to you, to refresh you with his love and to be refreshed by your love. Let your tears mingle with his tears until his fountain flows once again in your soul. Pray with the Psalmist, “O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.” In time you too will be able to say to the Lord, “Your love is better than life!” (Psalm 63:1, 3).
Your soul can become vibrant like “Jesus’ Garden,” as portrayed in Glen Hopkinson‘s painting above.
Ministry Begins with Rest. Really.