"This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce." Jeremiah 29:4-5
My dad went off briefly about weeds in the front flower beds today. Just about how he always feels it is a losing battle and it got me to think about this garden exercise I did with my "integrity" Bible study in college. We drew weeds and flowers representing times in our life we were influenced both positively and negatively about a topic. The weeds in our life can be the hardest things to deal with and get rid of. The roots are typically so stubborn and just when we think we've conquered it, it grows back weeks, months, maybe even years later.
I have a friend back in Long Beach who can be a bit random in hobbies, but she and her hubs have a beautiful quaint garden. Pretty good for a small LB townhouse if you ask me. But they enjoy the herbs and fruit they grow themselves.
This section of Jeremiah really encouraged me in my choice to stay on staff as so many times people quote verse 11 not thinking of the context of the rest of the passage. This was not good news to the Israelites. They were hoping Jeremiah was going to tell them they could come home, leave Babylon behind and find their national identity in their physical land again. Instead, Jeremiah tells them to stay where they are and get settled, because it is going to be a while!
I think sometimes we can fool ourselves saying one little seed is enough work for a garden to spring up. When in reality, a garden is not just one plant. It is a myriad of plants and seeds sprouting in growth when the right resources are added. This next year in Long Beach, I want to see a garden of many types, shapes, and designs of plants sprouting up to bear good fruit. It's gonna be work, but I'm glad the soil is already being tended to.