A tale of two gardens

A tale of two gardens

My father loved gardens.  Everywhere we lived, in the north or in the south of Ghana, he kept a garden in addition to his regular farms; there he raised all kinds of crops for the family and for neighbours.

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When he retired as a farmer in northern Ghana, he often sat in his backyard garden close to his house for fresh air.  

One day when I visited him, he said, “Look at this little garden.  Do think anything good can come from this garden?” 

It was in the dry season and, indeed, the handful of crops had been dealt an unpleasant blow by the hot weather, resulting in famished crops with little promise of a yield.

To eat fufu! 

Yet, one weekend when there was a funeral in the village, a neighbour came to him and said, “The Ashantis among our funeral visitors say they want to eat fufu. Please, can I get some cassava from your garden to pound fufu for them?”

Sure enough, my father uprooted some miserable-looking cassava trees and filled the neighbour’s basket with fresh tubers of cassava.  The neighbour went away a happy man. Something good had come from the old man’s garden after all.

In his old age, my father received Christ Jesus as Lord and Saviour and was active in the Baptist Church.  His commitment earned him a leadership role in that church, and his devotion often amazed me whenever I visited him and heard him talk about the “Issah Messiah” he worshipped and served.

When he passed on at age 90, we laid him to rest in his backyard garden.

Eden and Gethsemane   

Thinking about him always reminds me of two gardens in the Bible: The Garden of Eden in the Old Testament and the Garden of Gethsemane in the New Testament.

God put the first couple Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  It was in this Garden that Satan fought against them, deceiving them with his cunning wickedness.  In their disobedience, Adam and Eve fell terribly, infected humanity with sin, and plunged the world into darkness.

In the Garden of Gethsemane, however, the story is eternally different.  While humanity was plummeting into the abyss of doom, there was a break in the fall!

Bad and good news

The bad news of the Garden of Eden became Good News in the Garden of Gethsemane.  It was in the Garden of Gethsemane that Jesus fought a great battle on behalf of fallen humanity and won.

The devil thought he could do with Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane what he did with Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.  But he was sadly mistaken. 

The Garden of Gethsemane significantly replaced the Garden of Eden. The intense prayer Jesus prayed, which resulted in that rare form of bloodshed through the pores of his skin, was for our sake.

The defeat

The devil was defeated at the Garden of Gethsemane when Jesus chose his Father’s will to drink the cup of suffering instead of avoiding it.  Satan again suffered defeat when Jesus endured the beating at Pilate’s courtyard.  

Then came the ultimate defeat: the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

In a desperate attempt to rubbish the resurrection, Satan relied on his nature as the father of lies: “You are to say his disciples came during the night and stole him away while we were asleep!’” (Matthew 28:12, 13).  Lies like this indicate defeat and bondage, while truth sets us free when we know it.

But, while Satan is a defeated foe, he is nevertheless alive on Planet Earth, which is another kind of garden, fighting tooth and nail to win people, using impostors.

Lost and regained

Ace poet John Milton, with his epic literary works, describes what happened in the Garden of Eden as “Paradise Lost” and in the Garden of Gethsemane as “Paradise Regained”.  

And Paul puts the same thing in a more poignant manner.  He explains in Romans 5:12-21 that just as through one man (Adam) sin entered into the world so that through his disobedience many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One Man (Christ Jesus) many are made righteous.

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It is because of this enormous work of Christ for humanity that it is sad when some Christians pay allegiance to denominational founders instead of Christ Jesus who saves us.

Your choice

Which of these gardens would you like to belong to?  Eden or Gethsemane?  There is no midway.  Eden means defeat, but Gethsemane means victory, the blessing of Christ Jesus whose death and resurrection ensure our forgiveness and secure for us the new birth and eternal salvation.

My father no longer tends earthly gardens where crops wither and disappear.  In the heavenly garden where roses never fade, he, together with all who chose Christ, have their eternal rest.

The writer is a publisher, author, writer-trainer and CEO of Step Publishers.
E-mail: lawrence.darmani
@gmail.com

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