by Christine Berglund

“Then to Adam He said, ‘Because you have listened to the voice of your wife, and have eaten from the tree about which I commanded you, saying, “You shall not eat from it;’

Cursed is the ground because of you;
In toil you will eat of it
All the days of your life.
Both thorns and thistles it shall grow for you;
And you will eat the plants of the field;
By the sweat of your face
You will eat bread,
Till you return to the ground,
Because from it you were taken;
For you are dust,
And to dust you shall return’”
(Genesis 3:15-19 NASB).

We know that our heavenly Father disciplines us for our good, and this example with Earth’s very first inhabitants demonstrates this clearly.

Occasionally, I find myself mildly annoyed that womankind shoulders a lot of Adam’s curse, but I have yet to see a man who has pain in childbirth. No matter; there must be a reason.

However, after a very troubling week, employing a seemingly superhuman effort to contain my anger, I find myself hacking at these weeds with a vengeance.

It is now my urgent and compelling mission to eradicate the undesirable plants in my garden, since I cannot eradicate the undesirable events in my life. It feels good. It feels like I am winning.

Of course this is all in my own imagination. The garden will never be completely free of weeds, no more than life will be free of annoyances and trouble. But it is therapeutic, and for that I am grateful as I give those weeds what’s coming to them.

What if God really couched a great blessing in the “curse” of the ground? What if hard work, especially the specific punishment of Genesis 3, is really meant to be an outlet for anger?

When sin entered the world, it was inevitable that it would cause the righteous to become angry at some of it. Jesus was. It is not wrong to be angry. “Be angry and yet do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).

So the punishment for sin– thorns and weeds–can actually be an outlet for the anger that was to follow the entrance of sin into the world?

The wisdom of God astounds me!

Some people recommend quelling their anger by punching a pillow or kicking the furniture. I would like to think that my anger management techniques are more genteel, and more productive overall.

While it is true that the garden rewards me with delicious vegetables and a slew of flowers, the violence in my weed reduction techniques is still evident.

I have a wicked-looking Japanese hand hoe, and I’m not afraid to use it!

Your methods may vary, and that’s quite all right. For me, engaging in a grudge match with errant vegetation is therapeutic.

Other people throw themselves into their work as an anger management tool. Again, this is a productive way to redirect bad energy into something useful. God meant for us to work, even before the Fall.

“Then the Lord God took the man and put him into the garden of Eden to cultivate it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15).

It has been suggested that Heaven is a place where we can work for God. It is beyond my comprehension what work God has for us, but it will not be as boring as the age-old stereotype of sitting on a cloud strumming a harp!

How often do we thank God for work? Do we thank Him for His loving discipline? Thank God for weeds. Take that!

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