I got to the botanical gardens early but after just a few minutes on the winding pathways, I was feeling wilted like a flower crumpling in the hot sun.
I was here because I couldn’t resist free admission, especially on the fourth of July.
And apparently I wasn’t the only one the idea appealed to, since I had to wait in line to park and follow the crowd decked out in their flag finery to the entrance gate.
I’ve been to these gardens before. But even during cooler months somehow my memories of it are always very hot.
But I know that can’t be completely true since I was here once for movies on the lawn and shivered all night since I hadn’t brought a sweater.
That tells me something about truth as I see it. That’s it not always so true.
So I’ve been searching for truth about God’s words to me and how they’re relevant to my life. I thought about the place where it all began so long ago.
In a garden called Eden.
Where the beginning held all truth. And life, and love, and purpose.
Where God made man and created a woman to accompany him through life.
Where God gave humans a purpose with plants to tend and animals to nurture.
Where God’s garden was cool in the evening as he went looking for the man and woman he loved, but they were hiding, tempted by a snake who twisted God’s words and convinced them to eat a forbidden fruit.
In that garden trust was shaken, intention was questioned, and God’s love was doubted.
And sometimes I find myself doing the same thing.
But I’ve been posing my questions to God. The answers don’t come immediately. This search for truth can stir up a lot of dust.
A few weeks ago the same verses from Matthew 6 kept showing up everywhere I turned.
If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving.
People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works.
Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
-Matt 6:30-33 MSG
I imagine Eden might have looked a little like the garden I'm visiting, full of branches and vines, waters and rocks, flowers and shrubs offering up their beauty maybe for just a day or maybe for decades.
But whatever their lifespan, I want to be like them, vibrant in this day, this ordinary here and now.
Their leafy branches reach for the heavens, their flower-faces turn skyward, and the gnarly roots delve deep. They will not be shaken.
And neither should we.
Could that be the freedom that’s waiting on the other side of trust?
Free from trying to find the answer to questions that might never be understood.
Free from trying to peer into the dim days ahead and predicting what they might hold.
Free from trying to control the outcomes of what only God has purposed for our future days.
There's a peaceful freedom in staying in the confines of today and responding when God comes in the cool of the evening, looking for me.
And maybe that freedom waits for you too.
Where it was now the only car left in the lot when just hours earlier I’d gotten the last spot.
I suppose everyone else realized that a July day in Florida is no time to be wandering around a garden.
Except for the beautiful bride I walked by, who was wearing a long, lacy gown, taking photos with her groom.
I imagine she thought this garden was the perfect spot to place her trust, declare her love and delight in every minute of this very hot July day.
I'm having coffee with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart. My blogging friends are sharing their posts there if you click the image!