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The Blister
by Barbara Smith

My palm doesn't burn any more, and the reminder of a burst of energetic gardening is finally healing. Now, one thing I have learned in my garden is that little happens while I work there without the Lord showing me an application to my life in Him. He offers to teach me because He knows how backwards my understanding is of Kingdom principles; He also wants to equip me to do His will. He walks alongside me, but always a step a head so I might follow in His steps. Taking the lead, He will bear the load. (Matt 11:28-30)

When I found a large, luscious Hosta, perfect for an empty corner of our yard, I hurried home, anxious to transplant it before the predicted April showers. Grabbing my handy spade, I started digging. The rainless dirt resisted, and as I applied more force, my gloves could not protect my palm from the friction. Nevertheless, determination overrode common sense. When the thirsty earth continued demanding more effort, I simply fetched a larger shovel, and I leaned into the task. Seeing my inability to dig one sufficiently deep hole, I tried dividing the plant into smaller plants, requiring two or three littler holes. However, its roots did not easily divide. Clutching the spade, I pushed more forcefully, ignoring the pain in my hand. Finally, I planted the now divided plant about thirty minutes ahead of the rain. Peeling off the gloves, I winced, knowing the blister that I rubbed would be an irritating reminder of this less than triumphant gardening adventure.

This weeping blister surely got my attention! No band aid covered it properly, and every time I plunged my hands into water, it rebuked me. By rushing in, and using the wrong tools, I made a simple chore harder. Ignoring stinging signals I blistered my hand, and the Lord reminded me: Had I but waited for the rain to soften the ground and the plant; had I used the appropriate tools; had I asked for help, I would have gotten the empty space filled. I wonder: if I just allow the Holy Spirit to soften hearts, or create a hunger for Truth; if I relied on Him and on the word; if I prayed before speaking . . . how many spiritual blisters, could I avoid? The remaining rough patch on my hand now reminds me of the rough patches in my heart that my hasty foolishness rubs.

Solomon thought patience of spirit is better than pride. (Eccl. 7:8) My pride defeats so much progress: getting the stupid plant in before anyone might see the bare spot in my garden was no more than my pride busting out. Likewise, rushing to have my way in my family or among my friends, without prayer, may make a simple assignment harder; I may blister another's tender heart. Matthew Henry says of Solomon's words:

"We must govern our passion with wisdom and grace: Be not hasty in thy spirit to be angry; those that are hasty in their expectations, and cannot brook delays, are apt to be angry if they be not immediately gratified." (From Matthew Henry's Commentary)

My impatience proves I still prefer my own opinions; it is evidence my pride will not yield to the Lord's plans. Patience, though, is the proof I am dying to myself; it is evidence that the Gardener is planting and reaping what I cannot. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Love in Christ,

© Barbara W. Smith 2000, all rights reserved
Permission is given to reprint any of Barbara's articles in non-profit publications as long as the article is reprinted in full and contains the copyright information and Web site address.

Please send a copy of the publication to:
Third Floor Publishing
PO Box 827
Arnold, MD 21012

We hope our thoughts encourage you in the Lord Jesus Christ who has enabled us to do exceedingly abundantly more than we could have asked or imagined -- please let us know what YOU think. E-mail us at workbook@toad.net. (Please don't forget to include your e-mail address with in the body of the message--we've had some of our responses returned due to insufficient e-mail addresses.)


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