If the garden teaches us one thing – and one thing only – it is the principle that change is inevitable.
You might furnish the inside of your home with the highest quality furniture and decor, and keep the children off the couch in the formal living room, and then the grandchildren can come some day and recognize the room based on old photos from fifty years before. I’ve seen it happen.
Things that grow are not so predictable or stable. This is why it is such a joy and a challenge – as well as a heartache sometimes – to be a gardener. It is no wonder that God assigned the first job to Adam and Eve as garden keepers.
Watching plants grow, thrive, die, and change the landscape is a lesson that runs a parallel with our fragile lives. A charming pathway becomes a tangled mess. Plants get bigger than expected, or stay smaller than we planned.
This could be my life’s motto, “Subject to change without notice, certain restrictions and exclusions may apply.”
We are used to hearing that phrase from advertisers when they have just finished touting their product as if it were the most desirable thing on earth. It’s especially funny on radio or television where the disclaimer is read by someone who can talk faster than a normal person can listen!
I found it necessary to give that disclaimer twice last week. Most of my machete-level headaches start out in the morning, so I let it be known that I might have to reschedule or to turn down temporary work.
Many of my planned events carry this disclaimer. I love to entertain, but frequent migraines have severely curtailed my habit of inviting people to our house and garden.
Certain techniques can compensate for my shortcomings. I’ve learned to cook ahead of time in case it isn’t possible on the day in question, and to have backup plans ready for emergency deployment.
But after one such event, “certain restrictions” ended up being a pie crust that was purchased out of the refrigerated section at the store instead of my trademark homemade pie. It gave me pause to wonder if this “change without notice” really should be the way we all live our lives anyway.
The man who expected to tear down his barns and build bigger barns didn’t know that there would be a change without notice in his life — actually, his LOSS of life — that very night (Luke 12:18).
We must not become complacent in thinking that this world just will carry on as usual forever and ever (2 Peter 3:3-11).
We should all be prepared ahead for eternity! Being ready at all times is the only wise thing to do, as this world and all it contains are “subject to change without notice.”
Do “certain restrictions and exclusions apply?”
As the garden changes without notice, it exhibits restrictions and exclusions. The climate itself restricts what plants can live in the ground year-round. My cherished Angel Trumpets are restricted by temperatures. Other plants are excluded because they are not as desirable, or they are too difficult to grow.
Similarly, heaven is a place that has “certain restrictions and exclusions.”
“And nothing unclean, and no one who practices abomination and lying, shall ever come into it, but only those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life” (Revelation 21:27, NASB).
One of the changes without notice that most of us will experience will be that passage from this life into the next. Make sure to read the fine print beforehand!