Since becoming a home owner, I find myself caring much more about my lawn. As a renter, I didn’t care what it looked like as long as it wasn’t too long. Now, I want it full of thick, green grass and devoid of weeds. Especially dandelions.
This spring has produced a bumper crop of the yellow headed beasts, not just in my yard, but in all the neighbor’s too. At first I didn’t mind, but then something shifted and I decided I needed to pull them all. Every. last. one.
So I went out one afternoon and began pulling. I ended up with a handful of leaves and stems. I tried again, tugging painfully slow and heard a satisfying “pop”. I had managed to sever the crown from the root, but no root came with it. I realized this was going to be a frustrating afternoon, so I decided to quit. Then it rained.
I came out one day after the rain to find that the ground was soft and spongy. I tried my “slow tug” technique and up popped the dandelion attached to 6 inches of root. I exulted and began pulling some more. I also went to WalMart to get a danedlion digger, a tool used to sever the root below the surface which makes it easier to pull. So, as I’m in my back yard digging up dandelions and other weeds, I can’t help but think about how easy it was to pull up this weed after the rain. Before, I got leaves and stems and the full knowledge that the weed would return. Now, I’m pulling out roots and all, with a good chance that they wont grow back. The main difference was the rain softening the ground.
It made me think about sin and my sometimes-hard-sometimes-soft heart. It also made me think of Romans 2:4 and the kindness of God leading us to repentance. Much of the time, it seems like our approach to sin was like me grabbing leaves and stems, removing the superficial evidence of something much more deeply rooted. But then God does something to reveal his Goodness, his kindness – he sends the rain. Then these things that seemed anchored so tightly in my hard little heart seem to loosen their grip and he pulls them up, root and all.
God is good, but I have to receive his Goodness, like the ground drinking in the rain, or else it doesn’t have an impact on my heart. This is harder than it sounds because it means I have to receive and enjoy his Goodness while I’m still a sinner – while that deep rooted bastard is still in my heart. I don’t want to do that. I want to rip those buggers out of my heart and then receive his blessing. But I can’t. The most I could do would be a superficial form of sin management, removing the evidence (leaves and stems) before anyone could see. I have to let him love me in my ugliness, really let him love me and receive/experience his love, before my heart will release its hold on sin.
A God who loves us, pursues us and blesses us while we’re still sinners, how extraordinary is that? We don’t clean ourselves up to earn his favor. Instead, we are called to let his Love, Grace and Goodness saturate our hearts and loosen our hold on the things of this world. Then, in one amazing moment we find those sins taken away only to be replaced with something much more beautiful.
The more I think about discipleship, the more I am becoming convinced that our primary job is to receive. To receive his love and to let it penetrate us to our core: mentally AND emotionally, theologically AND experientially. The transformation we long for is found in worship, in savoring Christ. That is Good News.