Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wildfires and Sow Thistles

This morning I worked in the sweltering sun, doing a job I’d had on a low-priority list for quite awhile. Pulling thistles is not exciting, even when the weather is cool and the mosquitoes are sleeping. It wasn’t, and they weren’t.

Every year, the border along my shed produces daffodils, hostas, wood violets, pansies, bleeding heart, hollyhock, delphinium and…sow thistles.

Where do those things come from? And how do I get rid of them? Seems the two choices are either pull or dig.

Weeding always gives me lots of time to think without interruption, so I reflected on sow thistles. I also thought about the wildfires raging right now in Alaska. So far, fire has destroyed about 90 square miles of the Kenai Peninsula south of Anchorage.

You might think that sow thistles and wildfires don’t have much in common, but I think they do. Both have the power to destroy beauty. The thistles do it an inch at a time, while the fire consumes miles in a day. Both start from a random seed that is sown. Thistle seeds are carried by the wind or the birds. The seed that started the Alaska wildfire was a mere spark that fell from a grinder being used to sharpen a shovel and ignited dry grass. The Seattle Times said that Alaska’s fire season is just getting started…so is the season for sow thistles.

And both are really difficult to stop once they get started. Just when we think they have been contained, a new outbreak flares up somewhere else. You can see a new fire from a distance, but sow thistles like to hide in the hollyhocks until they get established.

A bit like sin in my life.

Sometimes sin is pretty obvious, burning merrily away so everyone can see it. Sometimes it’s camouflaged in the hollyhocks of “spirituality”. But I think it’s on the Holy Spirit’s “high priority” list to extinguish and root out before it destroys the work He is doing in me and the work He has for me to do.

Are you a gardener? What has the Lord been teaching you as you dig in His dirt?

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