thorns and thistles

The earth is in me.

Though my soil is deep, rich and fertile, the warmth of its dark grounds seemingly affectionate and cultivated, in it lie thorns and thistles.

The gardener scattered the seeds of His word in my fields.  My heart had been worked by the till of contrition and I was ready to receive the seeds of life.

As these seeds took root their young shoots pushed though the surface, reaching for the righteousness of the Son and seeking to drink in the refreshing rains of His grace.

The dormant thorns and thistles were aroused.

Thorny creeping tendrils of cares and fears, worries and anxiety began to twist, tangle and distort. And while I worked diligently to remove the noxious weeds, it seemed that with each one I removed, three more sprouted up in its place. Prickly and seemingly evolving in defense, they were painful to uproot.

The thistles of my doubt and skepticism were even more adept at pressing down words of life.  They were quick to choke every expectant bud as too lofty to take root and too risky to cultivate.

Soon my treasure of seed was fruitless.  Hope looked just vain. The promise of increase, harvest and bounty in the Word was consumed until the vital shoots and buds of my faith shriveled, withered and came to nothing.

I was overcome.  

In my despair the serpent slithered:

The earth is cursed.  “..thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you”

Scripture warns me of these thistles and thorns.  They are the bitter herbs that took root when along with Eve I rejected God’s provision and questioned his motives.

They are the weeds of discontent and distrust.

They are the root of all sin that continues to distance us further and further from the certainty of the gardener’s love and intentions for us .  They spiny stalks are the cause of pain, suffering and death that we experience in our lives.

God saw all of this.

We were overrun by thorn bushes, suffocating and seemingly defeated.

Then God, in His unfailing love and never-ending compassion, sent His son to free us all.  Christ gathered up each thorn of sin and He laid them on his head.  He bore my shame and endured my pain and sorrowed all of my failings.

He succumbed to my death.

Reaching down into the depths of all sin, he paid the price of the curse.   And in rising again, he defeated it.  Breathing life into his lungs he breathed life into all humankind.

He made all things new.

And through Him, and with Him, I can hope again.

I can believe that those seeds of promise in me will one day birth fruit to perfection.

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