The judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Moreover by them your servant is warned…Who can understand his errors? Cleanse me from secret faults. Keep back your servant also from presumptuous sins; Let them not have dominion over me.
Spring knocked on the door of my garage this past weekend. The sun, long barred by layers of packing tape, sprung into re-opened cardboard boxes, boxes that had been sealed and stacked from a move that happened over a year and a half ago. Its sudden light scattered silverfish. I pulled out clothes and kitchen wares, books and blankets. I held them up in the light to name them. In the light, they received new purposes; things to be cleaned and put to use again, or things to be discarded. In this spring cleaning, hidden things are being laid bare. The beginnings of order are leafing in my garage.
Spring’s breath is sweet today. Through an open window I can smell new life on the wind. Dry, browned leaves that weathered this mild winter are nudged off branches by new leaves sprouting fresh and delicately green. Today I will open the garage door again and let in the light of spring. I will work on more boxes, naming what will be revived to life and what will be laid on the trash pile.
From a long winter, I feel like I’ve crawled out to this spring light; pasty, white, dank and musty. Squinting in this stronger, closer-to-the-earth sun, a bit dizzy and foggy from all this pollen, I am beginning to ache inside. I am feeling the thaw; longings for new life, for clear headedness. I want a spring cleaning in my spirit, not just my garage. I groan for what’s grown stale to be discarded, for new life to burst open in my own spirit. I long for the Gardener to tend his garden.
For me, this past season has been one rife with a feeling of inadequacy, of weakness – spiritual and physical—and a feeling that I can control nothing out of the force of my own will. I have been frustrated. I have squandered time feeling tired and weak. I have numbed my brain, grown sloppy and lazy and restless. There’s good in the acknowledgement of failure and weakness. It helps me rely only on the strength of Christ. But the bad is in the constant self scrutiny. It’s hard to focus on self and Jesus at the same time. My prayer in this season has been for self forgetfulness, to love wholeheartedly and without fear. I am longing for God to answer this prayer.
The psalmist asked who could possibly understand his own errors? “Cleanse me from secret faults,” he pleaded. Was he, like me, longing for a spring cleaning? He knew that this naming of things, this holding-things-up-to-the-light was a necessary part of new life. The Gardener moves through his garden, he calls weeds by their name, lays bare the secret places, so that even I can see the errors that stunt my growth. God’s naming, his judgments, are to be desired more than gold because they help us flourish. Like a good bucket of bleach water, they cleanse our hearts. Like spring weeding, they save the new buds from sins that might take over and smother us. And so he prunes. And in spite of the unpleasantness, I am grateful. I am ready.
I love that he loves us enough to re-purpose us. He breathes into us new life. He is spring at its very best, wildly robust, full of new life and uncontrolled by human hand. The Gardener is tending his garden. His winds are blowing here. He is sweeping out winter’s crusty remains as deftly as he is making new life unfurl on leafing branches. He shines light on hidden places, names us and causes us to flourish. It is a gift He gives, spring’s sweet honey, fruit of all this life floating around the air of His garden. It is a promise, a promise that he is indeed tending us with loving skill.