In the bridge of the Elevation Worship song “Graves into Gardens”, there are these lines:
You turn graves into gardens
You turn bones into armies
You turn seas into highways
What is the difference between a grave and a garden? Aren’t they both holes dug in the dirt? Then we put something – something that is currently inert (not alive and growing) – in the hole and cover it up. Sometimes gardens even have markers to name what is under there – just like graves do. So, what is the difference? What is the difference between the bones of 100 men, and an army of 100 men? What is the difference between the red sea blocking the flight of the Israelite slaves, and the sea being parted to allow their passage?
You might at first think that the difference is life. A seed holds life, a soldier is alive, a clear passage away from your enemy offers a way to stay alive. Those things are true. But I think the difference is our expectation, and how we respond because of our expectation.
The grave of a friend doesn’t make you excited for tomorrow. The bones of a soldier do not make you feel protected. The dead end in your road doesn’t make you feel hopeful. On the other hand, planting a garden is an act of hope or sending out an army or starting off on a new road – all these things are acts of hope. They come with an expectation that good things will happen and circumstances will change for the better. These aren’t rose-colored-glasses expectations – certainly roads, armies, and gardens all involve hard work. But work with a purpose. What purpose is there for a dead end, a pile of bones, or a grave? Oh, our brains just don’t do us any favors, telling us that these things are boom – full stop – an ending with nothing more to think about. That doesn’t have to be the case! God does not see them that way. In Exodus 14: 15 The Lord said to Moses, “Why do you cry to me? Tell the people of Israel to go forward. ” God did not see a dead end. You know what he saw? A means to show both the Egyptians and the Israelites that He was God. In verse18 He says “18 And the Egyptians shall know that I am the Lord, when I have gotten glory over Pharaoh, his chariots, and his horsemen.” Then in verse 31: “31 Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in his servant Moses.”
What if your hole in the dirt, your dry bones, or your dead end road are not what you think they are? What if God does not see them the way that you do? You may not understand it right now, and you may not know exactly what it is that you should be hopeful about. But you do know the one who is working in it, and in you. Trust Him. Ask Him to show you His vision. Ask Him to use your circumstance for His glory.
Have hope. Throw some seeds in that hole. He turns graves into gardens.