In the community that I live in, there is a historic garden. For a fee, you can tour the gardens and a handful of historic buildings. So I had heard anyway. Even though it’s roughly only a half mile down the road, in the seven years I have lived here, I had never visited the site.

I have been close to it, peering in through the gate on one of my occasional jogs through the neighborhood, but never taking the time to visit. You see, it’s never been convenient and there’s a fee.

The garden hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. That just does not fit my schedule. I work full-time and have very busy weekends filled with tasks and to-do list. In addition, it just didn’t seem to be a big deal such that there should be a fee required to gain entry.

Recently, I had an out-of-town guest visiting. The schedule was such that we had a morning together before it would be time to depart for the airport. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to explore the garden. It was finally convenient to do so. I would just go ahead pay the fee because this was, after all, for a guest.

We drove down the street and parked in the gravel lot. We made our way to the welcome center, paid our fee and began walking around the grounds. To my surprise we had an absolutely delightful morning touring independently as well as with guides, seeing the beauty of the area and learning about the history as well. The two hours we had available went quickly and we had only seen a portion of what the garden had to offer. I considered buying a membership before we left for the day!

Isn’t the often how it is with our relationship with God?

  • We know He’s very close by yet we think we just can’t be missing all that much. Life is generally fine. We can handle it ourselves. No need to get closer to Him.
  • We decide spending time getting to know Him is just not convenient. It doesn’t fit our schedule. We have things to do.
  • There may be a cost once we go through the “gate”. We have heard He’ll want an offering.
  • We peer in the “gate” but just keep on going by never knowing what we are missing out on.

In the same way, that I found what I’d been missing out on for the last 7 years, when we step closer to God we will find out what we have been missing all our lives.

We find love:

“This is how God showed His love for us: He sent His one and only Son into the world  that we might live through Him.”

We find forgiveness:

“If we confess our sins,  He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” I John  1:9

We find joy:

“You (God) have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.” Psalm 30:11a

We find a plan:

“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord, ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11

We find a family:

“God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to Himself through Jesus Christ.” Ephesians 1:5a

And we find so much more  – peace, hope, guidance, protection, help and on and on.

If you are finding building a relationship with God is not convenient or fearing it may be too costly. Consider all that you are missing. Take the time to go through the “gate”, become a member of God’s family for an eternity and find the beauty He has for you.

JW