—Charles Haddon Spurgeon, Morning and Evening (8 January, Morning: "The Iniquity of Holy Things")
Often, I truly don't care about the weeds in my garden. I don't give anyone access to that section of it, so there's little danger of anyone seeing the chaos. Instead, I give guided tours of the more well-kept parts, appropriately avoiding singing my own accolades, but being sure to set myself up to be admired. I even show a couple of weeds, to demonstrate my humility. But the real mess is quietly tucked away.
Sometimes I hate it, acknowledging by some grace that it's not supposed to be this way, that my reputation as a gardener is a fraud. And of course, my motives are as mixed as Spurgeon's illustration. Yet I must also confess that quiet, compelling grace, the genuine desire for my garden to be pleasing to Him. That desire is not born of my spirit, but of His. It's a conviction that serves a greater purpose than simply a call to obedience and discipline (though it is that, too—make no mistake). It is a longing for His garden, and for the Gardener's work to be done in mine. And it is not just the ignorant innocence of Eden. The suffering of Gethsemane is also part of this garden. That's not some compromise or mistake—it is to the glory of the Gardener.