She followed me down the drive way. Our time together was dwindling down to days and not weeks. She stopped, smiled and stooped down by her gardenia bush now in full bloom and covered with the most fragrant white flowers. I walked by that bush all summer. Each time I admired the lonely little gardenia blooms that sparsely decorated the bush. Each time I contemplated picking one to take home with me. But it had this kind of hallowed quality….something about it kept me away, as if I had no authority to pick its little blooms.
That day, she stopped, smiled, stooped down by her gardenia bush and picked several of its most beautiful blooms and tucked them into my hand with the sweetest squeeze. I buried my nose right into the middle of them and inhaled like a deep sigh. We said our “see you in a few days” and I drove off. Quiet, effortless tears rolled down my cheeks…tears whose origin felt hidden.
“Lord, why the tears?” I asked Him.
And I waited.
Tears kept rolling.
Then my stomach got that hollow feeling, that deep, invisible yet tangible feeling letting me know the tears were important to Him.
I knew the Lord was beginning to put His finger on the origin of them.
He reminded me about earlier in the summer—about all the times I walked by the bush wanting so badly to have a bloom for myself.
“the Gardener chooses when to share a bloom with others…others can smell its sweetness and see its beauty from a distance, but the Gardener chooses when and with whom to share.”
This is where I found the origin of my tears—where I realized the Lord spent a lot of time all summer preparing a testimony of His heart and my identity to hit MY heart in a real way.
So can I tell you another story about another woman?
The Bible tells us a story of a bride and Bridegroom. About halfway through the story, we encounter the Bridegroom admiring his bride in the most lavish way. He compares her beauty to a garden and her fragrance like a garden fountain, “a well of living water and flowing streams”. But get this…He also compares her to a garden LOCKED, a fountain SEALED (Song of Solomon 4).
Does she get offended that the beauty of her garden is hidden, locked behind some gate? Does she get anxious that this “well of living water” He says she has is sealed?
She doesn’t. She doesn’t because she knows who has the key. It is One who just told her how lovely she is. He is the only one with the key. And she knows just what to do so that He will unlock it. She asks Him for the change to prove her love for Him. She asks Him to test her because she trusts in His love—specifically she asks for a North wind to blow across the garden—a cold wind, a wind that normally brings death to a garden. And she asks Him for the south wind to blow—a warm wind, a wind of Presence. She trusts Him to test her. She trusts Him to hold her. She trusts Him because she knows all that is in her is His…because she knows she is barren without His radiance.
In our resting…and in our dwelling—we bring forth fruit which only the Heavenly Gardener sees and which only He eats. And this rest isn’t a lazy kind of rest—its a rest that consists of passionately guarding the door of our heart so that out of the multitude of those seeking entrance there, none would be admitted but Him—the One in whom we belong and who claims our undivided love.
The temptation is this…
the temptation is to forget for a moment that every single fragrant bloom in our life is His…
the temptation is to forget that outside of His radiance, we are barren…
the temptation is to share all of our blooms with whoever comes around and appreciates them…
Anxiousness stalls growth and forbids fullness.
The better way is to remain faithful even when we feel full…
To draw on His life.
To live like our lives are not our own.
To trust Him to unlock His garden and break open His fountain.
Fruit that is given on His authority carries His weight and not our own. It carries the weight of Heaven.
This is the lesson of the Gardener.
This is the reason for the tears.
If every fruit we bear is seen only by His eyes, HE IS WORTHY. If every fruit we bear is seen by the world, HE IS WORTHY. He holds the keys. He breaks the seal. He determines our seasons. We rest. We furiously guard His garden.