In the Depth of Dryness


The soil was dry, so lifeless that it slipped through my fingers like sand. As I attacked the grass weeds in this long abandoned part of my garden I was amazed at the total lack of good in the soil. The was no composting matter, no hidden damp patches no matter how deep I dug, and definitely no insects or worms at work. Even the grasses I was pulling out were dry and either dead or dying. Rain had failed to fall for months and with nothing but weeds in this bed hoses and watering cans chose not to bless this ground.

With such dry soil it was easy to follow the grass roots deep down into the soil. No digging or effort required to get to the depths of the problem. Just moving aside some dry soil and a small tug and the whole thing would come out.

It was a totally different weeding experience to when I de-grass my healthy garden beds. In the healthy beds I have to fight against damp soil, rich composting material, roots of the plants I want to keep, insects and worms come flying out of their soil homes as I rock their world. Caught up in the trappings of a rich and healthy life, the weeds are much more difficult to recognise, deal with and remove totally so they don’t return.

In the dry and abandoned garden, where there was no hope and little life, it was so simple to identify the bad, to pull it from the garden, to go deep into the dryness to find the root cause and remove the whole of the unwanted weed.

As I pushed dry soil aside to grab an even deeper grass root I reflected on the dry times in our lives. Times when there’s a poverty, a lifelessness, an abandonment. Our relationship with God seems so dry and distant. It’s been weeks since His presence has soaked our soul with life giving water. It seems that nothing is alive inside; only the unwanted habits and hurts remain. Dry, dull, damaged.

Yet in these times of dryness it is so much easier for the Holy Spirit to gently dig deep into the depths of our hearts and remove deep sins and hurts. There’s no richness to distract, to fight. Simply reaching in and removing roots of bitterness that go deep. His healing water is absorbed with so much more joy. The Gardener’s work is easier to see. A new, blank canvas on which to add all the things that make life with Christ rich and beautiful and serving its purpose.

So when life seems dry, dull, lifeless, ask the Gardener of your heart to show what work He is doing in your life. You may just be surprised at how He is using it to weed out the bad in the depth of the dryness.
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