Posted by: pmarkrobb | May 14, 2015

weed your heart … weed it!

I’m going to take a bit of a departure from our purposeful orientation in writing this year.  In fact, I’m going to turn things around 180 degrees from our assertion that “their story is our story.”  Today, I see myself as the ancient and King David as the reader.  Today, I speak from my own experience.

I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the genuine and gifted gardener.  I do not feel as though God blessed me with the innate ability to paint on the canvas that is the created world.  My thumb is many shades from green, and my hands do not long to dig themselves into the cool, soft soil of spring.  But I do appreciate those who do, and who seem gifted by God himself to nurture nature into bold landscapes which burst forth with color and life.

I spent several days recently with my friend and brother who lost his wife to cancer last year.  Lisa, his wife, was one of those Rembrandt’s who could transform a hard or soft scape reeling from the ravages of winter, into a masterpiece which would engage all of your senses.  Her next door neighbor is equally skilled and I relished my early morning dog walks, passing by her landscape, taking in the vibrant colors and sweet smells.

Yesterday, I spent a good portion of the day in my own yard.  I made an intentional decision to enjoy the work and get down on my hands and knees rather than distance myself at the other end of a long-handled tool.  I loved it, and my senses were fully engaged as I connected with deep truths that most genuine gardeners who are also believers would be quick to confirm.

Perhaps the most valuable time was spent pulling out a large group of shoots of a trailing vine.  The shoots had appeared in a small strip in between our driveway and a neighbor’s fence.  Several years ago, we had uprooted some vines and flowers that were growing in that strip and replaced them with a thick layer of fresh mulch.  I loved the change, and in freshening the mulch each year the look was maintained.  This year, a cluster of shoots from the vine which grows primarily on our neighbor’s side of the fence, had appeared at one end of that small strip.  It turned out later to be an unwelcome thing with my wife, but one of my first priorities yesterday morning was “weeding” those shoots.

I decided I would get down on my hands and knees and pull out the shoots, rather than opt for a shovel or spade.  I began pulling at large clumps and became a bit frustrated at how difficult it was to pull them out cleanly.  I would mostly tear the leaves and a short length of stem, but the shoots were not pulling out by the root.  Although I was tempted to keep moving, I knew the truth every gardener knows, that unless you pull out the root, the stem will simply continue to grow.  Even if you are fortunate enough to get enough of them stem that it breaks even with the ground or maybe a bit below, it will simply reappear in time.  You must pull out the root to permanently kill the plant.

I sat for a minute considering how this truth resonated with my battles with sin.  Sin is a trailing vine, and you cannot kill it unless you pull out the root.  You can tear off the leaves or pull out the stems at ground level, or even a bit below, but unless you pull out its root, it will reappear in time.

I returned to the garage rather quickly to fetch a weeding hand tool my wife loves.  With it, I could easily target the root of each shoot and disturb the soil in a way that allowed me to pull it cleanly and completely.  A task well started and a truth well reminded.

As I continued, I happened upon a group of two smallish vine leaves grouped together which had stems less that two or three inches high.  I was tempted to simply pull them, but used my weeding tool and began to pull once the soil was disturbed.  As I pulled, the root began to emerge horizontally.  This particular root did not grow straight down and deep, but rather “east/west” and shallow.  I continued pulling, and when the full root finally emerged from the ground, it was nearly two feet long.  Two inches above the surface, but two feet below.  My mind went again to sin, and the truth that sin is most often the image of an iceberg … far more of it, and its potential for damage, lies below the surface.

As I looked at the root a bit longer, it dawned on me the horizontal trail of that particular root traveled to the other side of my neighbors fence.  I began to think of previous battles with sin, where I had done the work of pulling sin out by the roots in my own life only to see new leaves grow from the influence of my “neighbors.”  Many times we associate with people who are not fellow warriors either in our own battles with sin, or in theirs.  We pull sin out at the root on our side of the fence, only to see it grow back from the other side.

I know it might sound odd, engaging so deeply while pulling a few “weeds,” but I can assure you it happened.  The created world reveals God and His truth.  This truth was powerful in my own life today, and I trust it will be so in yours as well.  And I would wager that our brother in the kingdom, David would agree.  Today, I choose to see him reading and saying “his story is my story … their story is my story.”

Sin is a trailing vine, and in my best Scott from the Scott’s commercials voice, “weed your heart … weed it!”



  1. I so enjoy your sharing of Life here! The 90% Lived away from the formal, and normal, comings and goings of church. Where our Father is eternally revealing and exposing, but few see, know and enjoy His existence there. Life can be, is, “radical” there – a perpetual reorientation toward root truths…..the root! (Radical comes from the Latin word radix meaning “root”.) Father, thank You for the joy my brother enjoyed (enjoys) as he dug (digs) with You toward the root truths of Life. 🙂 “From You and through You and to You are all things. To You be glory forever!” Romans 11:36

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