As I continued to work and the number of filled trash bags grew, I recalled a chapter in a book called The Shack, written by Wm. Paul Young . Chapter 9 was titled “A Long Time Ago in a Garden Far, Far Away.”
Grieving the murder of his young daughter, Mackenzie encounters the trinity at a shack and works in a garden with the Holy Spirit in this chapter. As they work they discuss topics such as why ‘bad’ things exist and how he discerns the concepts of good and evil. The Holy Spirit finally tells him,” Mackenzie, evil is a word we use to describe the absence of good, just as we use the word darkness to describe the absence of light or death to describe the absence of life. Both evil and darkness can be understood only in relation to light and good; they do not have any actual existence. I am light and I am good. I am love and there is no darkness in me. Light and Good actually exist. So, removing yourself from me will plunge you into darkness. Declaring independence will result in evil because apart from me, you can draw only upon yourself. That is death because you have separated yourself from me, Life.”
Later, when the day’s work was finished, Mackenzie surveys their work and says, “But it really is beautiful and full of you. Even though it seems like lots of work still needs to be done, I feel strangely at home and comfortable her.” To which the Holy Spirit replies, “And well you should, Mackenzie, because this garden is your soul. This mess is you! Together, you and I, we have been working with a purpose in your heart. And it is wild and beautiful and perfectly in process. To you it seems like a mess, but I see a perfect pattern emerging and growing and alive …”
And that is our hope. As we learn and grow in the arms of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and as we learn to trust, not judge for ourselves, the ugliness below the surface comes out and the beauty of our Savior takes its place, creating a garden of life more beautiful than before.
May your garden be one of lasting beauty.
Your Sister in Christ,