I've forgiven and the weight has lifted!
Having just returned from a fantastic week of training I was in the kitchen reflecting on all this and wondering why it is that freed from sin people often fall back into sin or happy, whole people fall back into despair and despondency when I was reminded of my back garden.
I like gardening. I never thought I would but when we bought our first house I caught the bug. There's little else in life you can spend so little time working on but get such huge satisfaction from. It's amazing. I can spend 15 minutes with my fingers in the dirt pulling up weeds and trimming bushes, stand back and feel a rush of satisfaction - yes I just used the word rush about gardening.
After a good days gardening, beauty and order has been brought to the garden - job done. For days afterwards I'll come down to breakfast, put the kettle on and just stand and stare out into the garden. The frustrating thing about gardening though is that it only stays beautiful for a while. Before long plants have grown, weeds have returned, storms have wreaked havoc and the garden needs gardening again.
Here's an equation:
Beautiful things + cursed creation = loss of beautyIt's the same with life, and we miss it at our peril. Beautiful things, whole things, neat and orderly things in a cursed, corrupt & fallen earth don't stay beautiful for long.
'Why,' my cynical brain asks, 'when I was healed has my ailment returned?'
'Why, when I was free am I enslaved again?'
Those thoughts often try to point me towards doubt and away from trust. Things 'wear off' I tell myself, 'reality' kicks back in I remind myself. Perhaps God didn't really do anything in my life... Perhaps there isn't a God after all - or so the cycle can go.
Maybe those accusations are valid. Maybe my own inability to stay free or stay whole is a sign that we've all been lied to, that Jesus is still in the grave, maybe. Or maybe just maybe, the Christian life operates according to the same patterns and principles as everything else in this world. Maybe, we're not exempt from life. Stagnant stationary things rust and corrupt as much as moving, growing organisms. Beauty fades and chaos returns unless we continue to lean into and look to the creative creator who brings life out of death and beauty out of pain. It's what God did at Creation when he gathered the formless and void universe and began to shape it and it's what God is constantly doing by upholding and sustaining all things to ensure that they keep their order and beauty.
In our lives let's not overlook this valuable principle. Let's ensure that we tend the gardens of our lives and not become surprised at the presence of chaos when we don't.