Have you ever experienced chaos in life? I have. Once I heard Pastor Rick Warren declare, “God loves you and everyone else has a wonderful plan for your life.” It may be true. There should be some sort of plan to avoid that chaotic sense when life turns upside down, but how do we do that in our families? How can our families thrive instead of diving head first into tumult each day?
As the comparison continues between our lives and the earth, I have a tendency to look again at the garden. When the soil has been developed and dug, the earth is ready to teem with life and I am prepared to insert my opinion into a certain space, I’ve discovered that without a plan, chaos comes.
Let me give an example. We have a hillside in our backyard. It can be challenging to grow things on this hill. I discovered that trailing vines grow well and ice plant seems to work too. At the top of the hill, we have these large bushes that were planted and cared for prior to our arrival. They cover the chain link fence surrounding the yard and create a lovely natural barrier.
I decided to just randomly place things on the hill that I thought would grow well. A few sprigs of ice plant were placed up high. Trailing vines were interspersed with the ice plant. A geranium was planted because someone gave it to me and it looked pretty. Then I waited.
My husband wondered if this hill would ever grow and blossom. I assured him it would. Now, two years later, the trailing vines are flourishing on top of the ice plant which has extended up and down and has interwoven itself into the shrubbery. The vines pour over the geranium which peaks through the green bundle occasionally. While everything is green, there’s a chaotic and potentially destructive thing going on.
The shrubs are dying because the ice plant is cutting off their water and the vines are blocking sunlight for the geranium and some of the ice plant. I see the train wreck coming. Why didn’t I plan better? All the gardening books say to have a plan. They tell me to follow plans of previous gardeners. I refused. I thought I had enough knowledge to succeed, instead I acquired enough to cause problems.
In our lives, we think we should control everything. We assume we have the knowledge necessary to make wise choices without following someone else’s pattern for success. But, we don’t know how our lives will turn, we cannot have the knowledge our creator, the ultimate gardener, has accumulated for us. His excellence at planning the garden of our lives can be overlooked, but the result will be chaotic and destructive.
In John 15:1, Jesus declares, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” Like all true gardeners, God has a plan. In Jeremiah 29:11, it states, ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to proper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ “ He knows how we can and should live and He wants the best possible place for us. He wants us to thrive. When we seek His guidance in our lives and family and follow His plan, the opportunities to be free from chaos become available.
The next step is learning about His plan….