I slipped on a muddy patch, banged my knee and lived with the black bruise, aching and ugly and right there for all the world to see.
It had been raining. Hard. This bountiful garden of ours on the tip of Africa was drenched. Majestic trees stooped over, the weight of the water heavy in their leaves. I took to the outdoors at the first reprieve, breathing the sweet scent of life amongst the mountains. I was looking for the bird that was singing somewhere above my head when I went down.
That muddy patch on cobbled walkway was disaster waiting for inattention.
The time had come for serious work. The moss-riddled stepping stones were dangerous and someone else could get injured. This house of ours welcomes scores of people each year. She is a peaceful harbor, a place of reprieve and everybody I know loves her. To have a spot that could hurt seemed unthinkable, yet there it was.
In the beginning of time there was another garden and in the midst of the garden, evil lurked. It would bruise and bring pain unthinkable. But, a plan of redemption was made.
This place of peace, our African refuge, has been entrusted to us for safekeeping. We are stewards of magnificence, keepers of paradise. Above her foliage fly owls and eagles and far below scurry creatures amongst lilies of white and of lilac and of orange as bright as the sun.
This blemish in paradise, this place of hurt, needed attention. The keepers of the garden were rallied and a plan of redemption was made. The mud and moss and mess were scraped away. The growth was cut back. Pebbles were brought in to widen the trail and order was brought to chaos. The northern slopes of this paradise is still a glorious wild place – just slightly tamed, a gentle subduing by the stewards of the garden.
My life – and yours – has places of hurt slap in the midst of our beautiful places. Evil lurks, waiting for our inattention, waiting to bruise us as we fall. It hurts and it humiliates. It haunts our dreams and humbles our aspirations. Yet, in the very midst of the garden, in the cool of the day, our Savior seeks us out. Then he cleans away the moss and he scrapes away the mud and he – just slightly – tames those wild places and brings purpose to the chaos.
“Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed…The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” Genesis 2: 8 & 15