In the Garden
There’s an old joke about this song that calls it the Song About Andy—Andy (“and He”) walks with me, Andy talks with me, Andy tells me I am His own. But when I was a very small child, I remember telling my pastor father that I wanted to sing the Terry Song (“and the joy we share when we tarry there”). All these mis-hearings of childhood aside, this hymn is wonderful song about an intimate relationship with our Lord.
In our frenetic world this song calls us to step out of the frenzy and “come to the garden alone,” seeking a quiet, solitary meeting with our Savior. Jesus would often go to a quiet place to pray and fellowship with His Father. He, too, lived in a high-demand world with people constantly wanting something from Him, so these times with the Father must have been a cherished oasis of Presence, peace and power for Him. How much we would benefit by intentionally pulling away from the constant bombardment of our senses and seek the still, small voice of our Lord to give us comfort, guidance, instruction, correction, truth, wisdom, and love.
For when He speaks “the sound of His voice is so sweet the birds hush their singing.” There is nothing to be compared with knowing that the Lord is speaking to you personally. When we read the Word, His Spirit applies those truths to our hearts in very personal ways. Often when we are praying about something or someone, a Scripture will often come to mind which directly applies, or the Spirit will give us insight into some situation with which we are dealing. There are times His presence goes beyond words to just a deep, rich sense of His intimate nearness and love.
In these precious moments it feels like time stands still, or we wish it would. Yet, too often, we hurry into His presence, do our reading and pray our list, and fail to linger, don’t wait for Him to make Himself known, don’t bask in His peace and joy of His presence. As with any other relationship, it takes time, conversation, proximity, and desire for it to grown into the intimacy portrayed in this song. How often do we “stay in the garden with Him, though the night around [us] be falling”? Is this something we regularly pursue or rarely? Is His presence something we desire, something we value above other things, something we miss when we’ve been busied elsewhere? These are important questions to consider, because if we aren’t interested in experiencing the presence of God on earth, we need to question if we are prepared for His presence in heaven. If temporal things are more important than spiritual, we are too bound to this world, and need some weaning away from the things which will all-to-soon pass away.
“His voice to [us] IS calling.” It calls to all His children, seeking the intimacy He died to provide for us. We are saved in order that we can draw near and be united with Him. Are we seeking the fulfillment of the very purpose of our salvation? He does desire to walk with [us] and talk with [us]. All through His word He tells us [we are] His own, and His Spirit bears witness to our spirits that this is true. His great joy is when we share in the joy of His presence and love. If we haven’t stopped and pulled away from the rush of our lives to spend some focused time with Him, let’s do so very soon—now if possible.