Seeking God’s Kingdom & Finding a Garden

Posted on Jun 7, 2012 in Faith | 69 comments

If you follow my blog you know I recently started looking “at the birds of the air,” trying to “seek first his kingdom” instead of worrying about my life and “tomorrow” (Matthew 6:25-34).  What began as a morning devotional time in my backyard quickly became an overwhelming recognition that no matter where I am, birds are there.

I would wake to their heavenly singing before my 5 a.m. alarm.  I started noticing the delicate, fascinating winged creatures continually throughout my days–in the parking lot of the grocery store, on the golf course, at Danny’s football games.  And at night, as I drifted off to sleep, I would listen to what I can only describe as a symphony of another world.  Through the birds’ constant and glorious presence, I sensed God’s nearness to me.  “Come near to God and he will come near to you” (James 4:8).  Could my King and His kingdom really be that close?

I began studying every time “kingdom” appears in the Bible.  A whole book could be written, but one feature especially captured my attention.  God’s kingdom IS “near”–even “within” us–while also being “eternal” (Luke 10:9 and 17:21, Daniel 4:3).  Quite a concept!  Intimate and infinite.  Without beginning or end… outside the boundaries of time and space we humans understand.  My mind reverts to some of Jesus’ last words recorded in the Bible:  “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End (Revelation 22:13).  Quite a statement.

I’m drawn to look at the “Beginning” and the “End” of the Bible, the authoritative Word on eternal life.  Although I’ve read the words before, God brings newness to my finding there’s a garden at both….

Genesis 2:8-10:  “Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed.  And the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground–trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food.  In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.  A river watering the garden flowed from Eden….”

At the “End” we learn a bit more.

Revelation 22:1-2:  “Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the great street of the city.  On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month.  And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations….”

Again a garden with the fantastic tree and river of life but this time with a THRONE… for a King… in His kingdom.  Wow.  In seeking God’s kingdom I found a garden… and in the garden I found a kingdom.  Are they one in the same?  Is God’s kingdom an eternal garden?

I ponder that I always have been drawn to a garden… to its beauty and life.  Lately, while looking at the birds in my backyard, I’ve so enjoyed sitting near my own humble garden, with God!  He’s given me tulips to look at, mint to taste, soil to touch, bees to hear, and grass to smell… enticing all of my senses… engaging ALL of me.  The more time I spend with Him, the more I crave:  “How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord Almighty!  My soul yearns, even faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God” (Psalm 84:1-2).  In His intimate, infinite garden He fills me.  Deep within, the river of the water of life flows through me.

But I’m not the only one; others want to be near the King, too.  “Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young–a place near your altar, O Lord Almighty, my King and my God” (Psalm 84:3).  No wonder I sense God’s kingdom when I’m with the birds!

You may notice I’ve changed my website’s tag line to “…in the Garden.”  This is where I desire to live–with my King; this is where I invite you to come–to His kingdom.  I am fully aware that deception and sin occur, as in Eden; I know all too well the hurt from betrayal, as in Gethsemane.  But we can rest assured that forgiveness and ultimate victory are with our sovereign King Jesus.  May we daily experience beauty and LIFE with Him… in the Garden!

2 Comments

  1. Gorgeous, Laurie. I had a “bird awakening” when I quit working full-time in 1995. I realized the birds had always been there but I’d been too busy or distracted to notice them for years. I’ve paid special attention to them ever since and especially love the hummers!

    • Thanks, Nancy… I like that–a “bird awakening!” That sounds like what I’ve had, too, and I’m loving every minute of it! So happy you understand….

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