I would like to share with you a vision I had recently. I flew through the eye of a wise man. I slid down his iris like a tunnel leading to his soul. I landed in a lush field where in front of me a temple stood. The man walked up to me wearing royal robes and spoke to me.
“Welcome,” he said with an outstretched hand. “Come, I’ll take you on a tour.” I walked behind him as he showed me the many parts of his temple. It was made of the strongest stone. The sanctuary was warm and inviting. In the center a healthy tree stood bearing many leaves. Behind it was a golden alter smoldering from a recent fire. I could not stop looking at his tree. It was a perfect lush eucalyptus tree.
“Well, what is it?” he asked to break my concentration.
“How did you get your tree to grow so beautifully? I’ve tried everything. I water it and it gets plenty of sunlight. Also, how did you build such a magnificent temple?” I asked him trying to conceal my shame. A smile crept onto the mans gleaming face.
“I would be glad to show you. Take me to where you planted your tree.” So we journeyed into my soul to find my tree. We traveled through a thick dark fog that never dispersed to get there. We arrived at my gray, almost barren tree. The man walked around examining it.
“What kind of tree is this?” I felt a little offended that he was asking.
“A lilac tree. Can you help me with it?” He noticed my temple was built with cheap wood and an unfinished roof. It was all I could find to build it with. The golden alter was so neglected, dusty, and dirty that it looked like it had morphed into old brass. He pondered my question for a moment before giving what seemed to be a scathing answer.
“This tree has to go.” This hurt me. I worked hard on that tree.
“Why can’t we nurture this tree?” I asked frustrated.
“Because its the wrong tree.”
“What do you mean its the wrong tree?”
“Who planted it?” This seemed like a silly question.
“I did. Its the one I wanted. Its the one I felt was right. Its the one that represents me the most. Its just me.” He knelt down to dig in the dirt a little revealing one of the roots. He then stood up and looked out across the horizon.
“Have you ever considered that this tree does not grow well in this environment?” I had not thought of that but I had to prove my case.
“That’s absurd! You just don’t like it and you want to change it!” He slowly turned then very seriously and somberly said.
“Think what you will, but this tree will die. It will turn to dust and your soul along with it. Heed my words, if you do not plant the proper tree here, this land will be barren.” I couldn’t believe it. He was suggesting I destroy the only thing I had left.
“What tree grows best here?” He abruptly answered.
“I don’t know, but I know who does. The great Gardener. He knows everything about the soul.” I heard of him before in passing but never thought he was that important.
“How do I know he will bring new life here?” The man walked over to me, and with a smile set his hand on my shoulder. He conveyed his following words with utmost sincerity.
“You will just have to trust him.”
“Well, where is he?”
“Just call him and he will come.” The wise man walked away into the fog. I was conflicted. Why should I have to replace what I know is right for me? I don’t! I won’t! I will stick to what I know is right. I will fix it… or so I thought.
Many years went by. The tree was yet dying, and I was still clinging to it. I tried everything. I tried different fertilizer and new pruning techniques. Despite all my efforts, nothing made my tree grow any better. Termites were eating away at the roots. I could not kill them. No product seemed to eliminate them permanently. Why was this happening to me I wondered. In my desperation I remembered what the wise man told me. So in a despairing cry, I reached out.
“Gardener of the soul, please help me. I cannot do it myself. I am in desperate need of you.” Moments later a figure appeared walking through the fog. He was a dirty, simply dressed man with a few tools in hand and a big bag of seeds. I ran to him.
“Gardner? You came! What must I do?” He reached into his bag and pulled out a seed. He placed it in my hand and in the other hand he placed a small spade.
“Plant this.” I quickly dug up a spot and planted the new seed in the ground next to my dying lilac.
“Now what must I do?” He said nothing. Instead he took the shovel off his back and began digging up my old lilac tree. He struggled for days. The roots were deep and cutting them was very difficult. I offered several times to help him but every time he would simply say, “No, this is my job.” Bleeding, bruised and sweating from every pore the man never stopped. Finally the tree came up. He cut it up into pieces with an ax.
“Now, place the tree on the altar!” He said in a commanding voice. I gathered all the remains of my dead tree and placed them on the ancient, unused altar. Once the last branch was set, the pyre of my old soul exploded into flames violently knocking me away. The flame was so hot and bright I couldn’t even look near it. My pitiful temple was burned down around the altar. The great Gardener stood right in front of it the entire time until it all dispersed into smoke. The altar was no longer faded or dirty. It had returned to its pure gold form. The Gardner pointed toward the spot where I had planted the new seed. It began sprouting up. Around it the grass began to grow greener and fuller than I had ever seen. Like a giant green drop in a dark smoky pond the grass scattered across the land dissipating the fog in its wake. The sun shown down brighter than ever before. The great Gardener helped me up. He calmed my shaking with his touch. I clung to him as we walked over to my new tree. He quietly spoke to me.
“This is a maple tree. Take good care of it. This is the tree I designed for you. Never forget to use the altar. My fire does not fall on it if its empty. There will be many more trees that sprout. When they die, lay them on the altar. When you weed the gardens around the temple, place them upon the altar as well. Now go and build a new temple for me. The fog has lifted, you can venture into the kingdom to find the proper stones and materials to make this temple great.” My soul was made new that day. The Gardener walked away reverently to his next destination.
Friends. If the tree we plant in our hearts is not a seed from God, it will struggle and eventually die. Often times we think our feelings define who we are, so we plant our roots in those things. Our feelings are valid, its what we choose to do with them that will define who we are. We are unique, but we cannot change the life God designed for us. We cannot plant a seed contrary to the terrain God laid out in us. The kingdom of God is within you brethren. If you have not called on the name of Yeshua, if you have not received the free gift of salvation from Christ the Lord. Today I urge you to call on the great Gardener of the soul. He already died so that you could lay down the old pyre of sin on the altar. He gives us a choice. Choose to plant the seed Christ knows best into the soil of your soul. Do not let this world tell you who you are. Receive the gift of life.
Below are some scripture references that I found line up with the vision I had.
May Yeshua bless you abundantly.
Kenneth Forrester is a writer, actor and filmmaker in Atlanta GA.