The berry patch just a couple of dozen feet beyond the edge of my back lawn always fights with me in the summer. The blackberry vines reach upwards to nearly six feet by midsummer. I know that’s because they used to live here, where my house and yard now blocks them. They certainly would love to come back to retake full ownership. When the house was built a bulldozer cleared a twenty foot buffer between the lawn and the vines. But the blade just scraped the surface so the roots were left intact, though out of sight for a very brief spell.
So now every summer I battle over the backyard buffer area. I tried spraying with berry vine poisons and it certainly killed the surrounding grasses, but the vines only hesitated before sending out their cousins. As part of my weekly mowing I went beyond the lawn and mowed off the new sprouts wherever they burst out. That knocked them down for the moment but a week later the vines were persisting, adding new inches and healthy leaves. Finally I dug at some of the main root bulbs, pickaxe swinging and sweat flying. Maybe four or five main roots out of dozens were defeated before I gave up for the day. I still go back from time to time and add more “conquered” ground and then plant grass where thorny vines used to prosper.
I think of how the Spirit works in my life. The thick-fibered affections planted from before I knew Christ (and some since then) are ever springing up in my attitudes and actions. Yet God is certainly a great weeder whenever I invite him to come help me out with these incursions. He even brings out the pickaxe if I ask for more than a superficial pruning, and the spots he digs into on those visits are the spots in the lawn of life that become uniquely attractive. I know he loves to do the heavy digging but I really hesitate to ask him. It’s a lot of disruption; and I really enjoy blackberries on summer dishes of vanilla ice cream.