There is this one rose bush I wish I never planted in my back garden. I was looking for a yellow rose and I settled for one that I shouldn’t have. I planted it knowing that there were more thorns on this variety than I had ever seen. But I wanted the color, so I planted it anyway.
The bush grew like a weed. I was constantly cutting it back, trying to get it to not impede on my other flowers’ space and frequently getting scratched by the plethora of thorns.
Finally I got angry enough to dig it out. I took the shovel, my gloves and the trash can stomped over to the garden. I dug deep, pulled out the root core and threw the whole thing away. Ha! Good riddance, I thought as I swiped the dust off my hands.
A few weeks later I noticed that small shoots of the same rose were popping up close to the original site. I considered the possibility that I did not get the whole root ball, so I dug those out too. I then enjoyed my morning coffee, looking out at my pristine garden.
Again, just a few short weeks later I saw the same thing. More shoots, more thorns, more of the bush coming back.
While I was out there digging again, the Lord spoke to me very gently, very quietly—which is good because I need that type of patience.
He said, “And so it is with your pride, my child. You will dig and dig, and things will look good for a while, but the roots of why you have such pride are still hidden deep in the ground of your heart.”
At that moment I despaired. What was the point if my pride continues to rear its ugly head? And pride is not my only issue! Thankfully the Lord was not done talking to me.
He pressed this into my heart. “You are persistent with this rose bush, be persistent for Me.”
At that moment I realized that this journey I’m on is not a race. I will never fully dig out the roots of all my issues, but it is enough that I continue to dig. My relationship with God should not be static, but dynamic. I must continue to seek out my thorny bushes and remove them and be patient with myself.
My impetus for digging out the rose bush was that it was ugly, thorny and taking over my garden that was otherwise filled with lovely flowers. It was a big task.
Rooting out ugly sin is a big task too. But the hardest part is facing the task and then doing the work to get to the roots.
My idea of the perfect garden has changed. I know it will take work and I am up for the task.
New shoots of the old sin may rear their ugly heads too. It will take work to find the roots, but I will patient and persistent and dig them out so I don’t ruin the rest of the garden.