Some Gardens God Invites Us to Enter Aren’t Pleasant

Some gardens God invites us to enter may not be pleasant. Sometimes, we have to fight our battles in solitary Gethsemanes.

Years ago, I was drawn to a young man who worked at a large church. He was involved in various departments, and his tasks gave him a modest social media presence – this was during the early days of what we now know as social media.

I was excited when he started his own ministry. It was not uncommon for young people to be sent out by this church, and I was particularly drawn to those who felt the call to be pioneers. I knew of the solid biblical foundations his present and childhood churches had laid before him. He would do nicely!

As time went on, my initial joy at his faith-driven decision ebbed. I started to sense something was wrong but couldn’t pinpoint it. I could not endorse or share his content, even when he reached out to me. Yet, I couldn’t understand why I felt this way. I decided to keep my concerns between myself and the Lord, praying for insight.

One morning, I received a shocking answer to the question, ‘What is going on?’ This young man boldly announced that he was leaving evangelical Christianity behind and invited his followers to join him in his ‘new enlightenment.’

This young man’s ego was his downfall. His lofty spiritual teachings led innocents to a dangerous precipice where they could have tumbled right after him. Fortunately for most of his followers, they didn’t step over the guardrail of sound doctrine.

He then tried to pull the rug out from under his previous church, which loved him, mentored him, and provided a solid biblical foundation to stand on. They championed him and trusted him, giving him a platform to teach in-house in midweek evening classes. He also had creative license in his other duties, but a door was always open for him to seek mentorship and counsel as he navigated the sometimes tricky path of full-time ministry.

In the same breath where he chose to leap off that foundation, he pointed a shaky finger of judgment at that church and all other Bible-believing churches that disagreed with the lifestyle he suddenly embraced. He implied that the church chose to sweep things under the rug. This implied accusation was a profound betrayal that left many confused and disappointed.

As the news broke, my heart shattered.

I asked God, “How do I keep bitterness and distrust from creeping into my heart?” I asked myself, “How do you forgive someone when they knew what they were doing and they knew the harm they would cause?”

Some gardens God invites us to enter may not be pleasant. Sometimes, we have to fight our battles in solitary Gethsemanes.

I felt God say, “Follow me,” He pointed me toward the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus did not disclude Judas from following Him into the garden that night. His betrayer probably witnessed Jesus’ agony as our Saviour surrendered Himself to what would happen.

I imagine that as Judas scurried away to lead the soldiers into that sacred space, he was full of self-justification and excuses. Upon his disciple’s return with a legion of soldiers, Jesus did not curse him or strike him dead. He only responded with grace and dignity.

That day, I wrestled with myself until I could say, ‘ Father, not my will be done but Yours.’ I followed the way of my Master. And if the truth were to be told, God continues to invite me into Gethsemane every time my fleshly vindictive heart wants to rise up.

©2024 Katherine Walden