Instead of the thorn shall come up cypress;

instead of the briar shall come up myrtle;

and it shall make a name for the Lord,

an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Isaiah 55: 13


This seems to be a way of saying that God has promised a time to come when all of His creation will be restored to the peace and the glory of the way that it was at the beginning. There is total truth to that idea. Christ will return and He will defeat Satan and judge all that is wicked in our world. Then God will send forth a new creation that is perfect in every way. This is a great hope for followers of Christ to hold onto, and faith in God’s final triumphant work is a part of our understanding of the nature of God. But this desire for the future does very little to actually guide us in living in the present.


As a realist, I can say that I do not anticipate that the world where I live will be restored into God’s perfect creation by any acts or actions that people might perform. We may possess great skills and amazing capacity, but we are not God. Creation is His alone to work, and it will be made new in the Lord’s timing and by His hands alone. Yet, we are not left here to simply wonder when and hope for soon. God has granted His people with gifts and with understanding of His will and purposes. God wants us to do something that is useful for His kingdom with all that He gives to us.


We may not be able to eliminate thorns from our gardens, but we can pull weeds. Our landscape will continue to produce briars and they will impede our journeys. However, we can chop them down and burn them off. I think that these actions are analogous to the process of confession and repentance that God calls us all to engage. We are to seek after His righteousness, and we are to open our hearts to Christ’s cleansing work. Then we plant. We replace our dead thinking and actions with the new life of the gospel. Through meditation on God’s word and prayer we can fill our minds and our hearts with God’s truth that is the source in our world of the lush greenery and the fragrant aroma of God’s original garden.