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The Garden of His Delight

By Pam Palagyi
Arise Ministries Now the LORD God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed (Genesis 2:8).

One of my favorite places is the flower garden—the eclectic English cottage type, the prestigious formal garden, and especially the simple backyard variety. I love to meander down rustic paths and touch the flora and fauna as I marvel at God’s creativity. The explosion of color, the subtle bouquet, and the feel of lush, multi-textured plants across my fingertips all reflect the glory of His handiwork. The garden is a masterpiece of God’s creation.

Because I enjoy the natural beauty of flowers, I usually plant several varieties in my yard each year. I use them as cut flowers, dry them for everlasting bouquets, and even mix them with potpourri to last throughout the year.

One spring, however, instead of purchasing flowers from a nursery, I decided to grow all of my summer annuals from seed. I started planting marigold, nasturtium, poppy, and zinnia seeds in March, weeks before they would be ready for transplanting. Each day I brooded over the potted seeds until one-by-one, the tiny seedlings poked their heads through the damp, black soil. I experienced the joy of a mother giving birth all over again, but this time to botanical babies!

As the weeks went by, the miniature shoots grew, sprouted leaves, and then finally flowered into blossoms. When they were each selectively placed in the garden beds, my heart swelled with satisfaction. My “babies” were healthy, hearty, and a foliage feast for the eyes. That year my summer annuals were planted not only in the earth, but they also became a memorable planting in my heart.

I believe gardens also have a special place in the heart of God. From the original creation of Eden, the place of “delight,” to Gethsemane, the “place of pressing,” gardens have been a significant site in the plans and purposes of God.

In Genesis, God lovingly created Eden and placed man within the garden to dress and keep it:

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 (Genesis 2:8-9).

It was a perfect paradise. Imagine the beauty and glory of God’s pristine creation! But temptation slithered its way into man’s heart in the form of a serpent’s lie. Adam failed and gave into the temptation to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The result of his disobedience was death. It must have been a sad day, both for God and Adam, when he was forced to leave the paradise of Eden.

Thousands of years later, Jesus Christ faced a similar test in the Garden of Gethsemane. As the “last Adam,” Christ once again wrestled for obedience in Gethsemane. He fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). It was a costly decision—it required His very life, but Jesus bought back the eternal life that Adam had lost in the original Garden of Eden. The backdrop of the garden served as the scene for both dismal failure and eternal success in the overall scheme of God’s plan. Surely, gardens must move the heart of God in an extraordinary way.

So, when I sit peacefully in a park surrounded by lush, green foliage or watch as a chorus line of dancing flowers sways in the wind, I am reminded of the God who created all gardens, both with natural and spiritual beauty. Each garden has its purpose, and each planting has a place in God’s heart as well as my own.

About Pam Palagyi
A gifted writer and speaker, Pam is founder and director of Arise Ministries, which draws its vision from Isaiah 60:1, “Arise, shine for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.” The goal of Arise Ministries is to awaken the hidden potential of believers in their individual spheres of influence so that they can truly shine for Christ.

Pam earned her Master of Divinity in Practical Theology from Regent University. Pam is a contributor to Life in the Spirit and In Touch magazine. She is also author of Altar of Grace: Introduction to Practical Ministry and The Word Became Flesh: Studies in the Gospel of John. Pam and her husband, Paul, have been married 30 years and have two adult daughters, Lisa and Laurie.

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