There are solitary, soul-feeding lanes, unmarked and unpaved we all must wander down. They are places of hidden beauty and comfort where one is safe to grieve, to forget awhile, to grow and learn.
That’s when I go for a walk down Oleander Avenue. A place where the Creator and I can stroll hand in hand, my heart in worship, His in love, finding joy in companionship and beauty.
It’s one of the things I miss most when we’re traveling. Cities are nice with their boardwalks and malls and all the rest. But there’s no communion there. No peace. No rest.
Ah, but the sultry air of the jungle, heavy with the scent of orange blossoms, sandy earth sliding between your toes, the snip of garden shears, trickles of sweat, palm fronds swaying overhead….that is a cathedral of worship.
I’ve missed my private chapel while we were gone. Yes, there are often too many mosquitos, outbreaks of fleas, a scorching sun to jail me inside, but those precious moments to dig around more than make up for those other discomforts. It’s a time my greatest concern is which branch to prune. When my greatest wonder is a new bud. When my only grief is a struggling stem. It’s a joy to labor side by side with our life-giving God, to learn His patience, His pleasure over even the smallest bit of growth.
We leave soon again for Oaxaca, back to a little house with a barren, deserty side lot. I’ll miss these spots of green and color. To the greenhouse it is…..but until then, I have these pictures.
Pictures not just to remind of of home and my little garden in the tropics, but to remind me of patience and joy. Working in the gospel is no different. There is pruning to be done. There is sweat and tears. But there is joy. There is so much joy over every new sprout, over every little bud, over each fresh leaf. It takes times and patience, but watered with hope and prayer, there is created a place of unspeakable beauty.
Is there beauty only found on the mission field, in opening new areas, in seeing whole groups gather out?
Not at all.
The most beautiful is your neighbor, your friend, your coworker. They have been watered with your own tears, cared for with your own hands. Each soul is the most beautiful of all.
There is no worship like the worship raised to our Creator by gardener and fruit together, giving thanks for His nail-pierced, life-giving hands.