My wife Laura and I lived in Aberdeen, Scotland when I was researching emotions. We loved the fields of daffodils in the spring. In Aberdeen, with its temperate and rainy climate, these flowers multiplied endlessly. Whole parks or expressway exit ramps would turn daffodil-yellow through a grass carpet.
Building on the community’s enthusiasm for the flower, we planted spring bulbs in our tiny garden at the back of our flat (apartment). The second spring, as the hills and parks exploded in yellow, our garden was a brown dirt mess. Our small flat came with a gardener, an elderly Scotsman with an accent so thick we had trouble understanding him. He should have fertilized and taken care of the garden, right? Sharing our distress, our neighbor confided in us, “Your gardener dug up your bulbs and took them to plant somewhere else.” Our gardener turned out to be a bulb thief!
In a hard times, I am often tempted to think of providence like it is my Scottish gardener. I think about things gone that I thought I deserved, things broken that I thought needed fixing, or health damaged that I thought was healed. What is my master-gardener doing?
Jesus’s words in Matthew show us the true character of our gardener. Unlike our Scottish friend, we can understand his words clearly. Our gardener is not a thief. He can be trusted. God cares to clothe even the lilies and feed even the birds. Surely, he cares more about us! God will faithfully cultivate, prune, and fertilize to get the best and boldest show of daffodil-yellow.
To live fearless in a fearful world, we return to where we started. Even when it is winter, before the bulbs come up through the snow, we can trust God is planting good things beneath the surface. Even when we feel like Jesus facing the cross in the garden, we don’t need to worry. We can trust the love and provision of our master gardener, our loving Father.
Instead of worrying about our needs, Jesus tells us to focus on God’s kingdom. Ask God what his priorities are for you today, and focus on those.
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