Last evening I went out after a brief rain thinking it would be easy to pull weeds in my small flower garden. To my disappointment, I discovered only the surface was moist, and I needed a tool to break the ground deep enough to pull the weeds from their roots. I realized after the weeds were pulled that having broken the ground in the process, this would be a good time to give the flowers some water. I thought the rain was over for the evening.
Then, around 9:45 pm a huge thunderstorm moved through, dumping not only copious amounts of water, but about five minutes of hail. The ground and streets are covered with the leaves stripped from the trees. My walk this morning revealed piles of hail on street corners where the gutters and drains were clogged from the hail, and could not carry the runoff of hail and rain fast enough. The hail did not do my flowers any good either!
But I digress from my point… The experience last night of pulling weeds and working the ground are a good analogy for the human heart. When the ground becomes hard, the rain does not have the immediate ability to penetrate the ground. Rather, the rain runs off, providing little long-term benefit to the roots, and thus the plants themselves. But, when the ground has been cultivated, it is not only free of weeds which compete for the nutrients of the crops and flowers, but the soil is far more receptive to the moisture required for growth and health.
Similarly, the human person must tend to the interior needs of the heart and soul. The attitude espoused in Psalm 108 expresses beautifully the openness of one who understands the life-giving relationship we have with the Creator: “My heart is ready, O God …” A healthy human life is one that does not allow the heart to become hardened by worldly ways, nor the soul to become fruitless through regular patterns of sinfulness and vice.
Hearts that cultivate relationships and love, souls that develop virtue and grow in holiness are ready tools in the hands of God. The Prophet Isaiah teaches: As the earth brings forth its plants, and a garden makes its growth spring up, so will the Lord God make justice and praise spring up before all the nations. (Isaiah 61)
So, dear friends, as we enter another day, let our hearts be open to the Lord. It is good to remember that each day we enter into a Love that is eternal. We take up fresh and new a relationship with Christ who is always pouring out grace upon grace to keep us vibrant in the life and ministry He shares with us. With cultivated and grateful hearts, let us ‘soak up’ the grace and love of Christ, that we may bloom where he has planted us and bear the fruits that are ours when we remain in His love. (John 15)