Here in Texas it’s spring (quickly approaching summer), and for the first time in my adult life I have sufficient space for a real vegetable garden. My garden has become one of the greatest daily pleasures of this season. It has been so delightful to go from thinking that I had, of course, already killed all of my plants before they even sprouted, to seeing little tiny green things emerge from the dirt, to seeing a now flourishing little space with almost ready to harvest kale and carrots. It has been a true gift to be able to share, even in such a little way, in God’s beautiful act of creation.
This joy of gardening comes with the usual trials of weeds, pests, and the question of how on earth to keep these things out of my garden without also removing my precious plants. My garden houses one particularly resilient, frustrating, and, dare I even say, malicious weed. I have named this particular weed my Leviathan because of the way that it spreads its little tentacles everywhere, no matter how many times I pull out the shoots. I have dug quite deeply in the portion of the garden where it lives, following the roots all the way to what I thought was the root, ripping it out, and risking (and killing) a few of my carefully tended plants in the process, only to come back the next day and see an impertinent new shoot popping out of the ground. For those of you not currently obsessed with gardening, I assure you, it is infuriating. I have a deep desire to dig up the entire corner of the garden where Leviathan seems to live, but my biggest and most beautiful squash plant is growing right in the middle of that section, still alive and thriving.
One afternoon, as I was thoroughly enjoying pulling out the “normal” weeds and fighting again with Leviathan, I was struck by the reflection my garden served of my own soul. Here I was, pulling out the regular weeds whose roots I could easily identify and dislodge, who would come back, yes, but could again be easily removed without deep damage. In the midst of these little weeds, however, there was a seemingly impossible weed that had such deep roots I couldn’t even find them, and that had taken its place in what should be the most fruitful area of my garden. In my own frustration with my garden’s weeds, I was struck with what the gardener of my soul must feel when he looks at the beautiful space he has planted and sees it continually invaded by its many sins, both those shallow and those so deeply rooted that I can’t even see where they begin.
The thought set me wondering a bit more deeply about my own soul. What is my Leviathan, the root weakness, hurt, or rebellion that is lodged so deeply in my heart and soul that it almost seems a part of me? What is the area in which Satan is trying to take over what should be most fruitful and make it the most destroyed? Because those are the areas of our souls, just as in the areas of our gardens, that are most ready to grow both wonderful fruit and frightful weeds. Praise God so greatly for the incredibly gift of confession, that unbelievable gift of being able to go directly to the one who can pull those areas of sin from our hearts, but unless we let him go to the roots, they will come back again and again and again. I am comforted by looking at my garden again and seeing that the big plant in the corner that usually hides Leviathan is thriving and looking like it will produce good fruit, despite the weed that I can’t pull out just yet. I trust that God will do the same in my own soul, weeding and pruning to protect the good fruit he is growing, but at some point, we’ll have some deep weeding to do. Leviathan will have to go after the harvest and must be pulled out from its roots.