The fresh smell of the mountain air and the cold squishy sensation of Yosemite's sub-alpine meadows under bare feet invigorated the senses. My 21-month-old daughter jounced in the "Geri Carrier" on my back as we hiked along a mountain stream which was to become the Tuolumne River. We passed through vivid patches of hundreds of wildflowers in sunny openings along the stream. There was the orange brilliance of the Sierra Tiger Lily, the bright blue-purple of Bush Lupine against the lush green foliage, here and there the surprise of a Shooting Star--and if one looked closely, a Scarlet Columbine. The list went on and on.
I found myself telling my daughter riding behind me, "Annie, this is God's garden." The beauty filled me with joy. But the concept of God's Garden set my mind imagining what God liked in His garden.
God must love variety, I thought. Even plants of the same species are different--some tall, some leafy, others with a profusion of flowers. God must love variety! He is not the God of an assembly line creation, but One who loves and appreciates the differences. Cloning is a distinctly man-made aping of Deity.
We often feel insecure when we perceive differences between ourselves and others. We feel that we may be somehow irregular and not quite right. The truth is, God loves variety. All His plants are different. That's the way He likes it. God made us this way and loves us for our uniqueness. He created our uniqueness for His own purposes.
There is a beautiful verse in Zephaniah 3:17 (NIV):
The Lord your God is with you, He is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing."
As Annie and I walked through God's garden in the high mountain meadows of Yosemite, my heart was thrilled and filled with joy from the beauty of it. I am sure that, in the same way, God longs to rejoice, sing for joy, over His people, His church.
We are God's garden, the planting of the Lord. Singly we are unique flowers, together a garden. I pray that He enjoys visiting His gardens on Sunday mornings. And I hope He whistles in His heart to the songs we are singing to Him.
Annie, we are God's garden.
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