I’ve spent the last several days with my wife on a glorious hiking vacation in Glacier National Park in Montana. The natural beauty–the work of the ultimate creative Artist–was stunning. As a gardener who works hard to make my garden look good, I am constantly amazed by the wildflowers, trees, and shrubs that God so effortlessly arranges to form such spectacular scenery. Having said that, I also noticed that there were plenty of weeds scattered throughout the landscape as well.
The ongoing struggle between flowers and weeds, whether in my yard or a national park, makes me think of the constant battle between good and evil. God blesses our lives with many flowers, whether or not we have eyes to see them. But the evil one tries to pollute that beauty by sowing weeds of fear, entitlement, hate, and many other ills, into the gardens of our lives.
Even though God has not planted the weeds, the Great Gardener gently works on us and with us to help us see the weeds for what they are so we can pull them and eliminate them from our lives.
Sometimes the flowers vs. weeds analogy plays out at a national level as well, as it has this past week. The many weeds of political tension were already threatening to overrun the flower garden that is America, but the overturning of Roe v. Wade has only made that worse. Another weed–and a big one at that. I call it a weed not as commentary on how I feel about the decision (as I have mentioned before, I believe I am not to use this forum to talk about my political views), but rather to point out that the issue of abortion is yet another tool the evil one is using to try to disintegrate this country.
One big difference between weeds in our own lives and weeds in our country is that for personal weeds, God works in us to eliminate them, but for national weeds, God works through us to try to eradicate those. For example, if I have a weed in my life that might be labeled “discontentment”, God might chisel away at my heart to help me develop a posture of gratitude for the countless ways He has blessed me. But for a national weed like the divide over abortion, God might work through me by helping me not to engage in bitter discussions on the topic and by exhibiting Christ’s love even toward those who view this issue differently from me.
I say this as much to myself as to anyone reading this: hate and bitterness are favorite tools of Satan, so we must never take them up into our hands, no matter how tempting they may be. If we are to follow Christ, we can only ever use tools he used to deal with difficult people in difficult situations–coming alongside them, understanding their pain, and helping them carry their burdens. Caring for them. Loving them.
That’s how we can cooperate with God to pull the weeds threatening to overrun the garden of our great country.