There are many of the “old standards” in Gospel music that I can listen to over and over, and never grow tired of hearing them. I also enjoy singing them, but mostly in private as the Father is probably the only one who will listen. I am grateful for Psalm 98:4, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous songs, and sing Praises.” Also, Psalm 100:1-2, “Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth! Serve the Lord with gladness! Come into His presence with singing!” (emphasis mine)
Did you notice? Not once, but twice the Father has told us He wants us to sing our praises to Him. I’ve found it’s hard to have depressing thoughts when I sing songs of praise, the ones that truly are meant to be inspirational. When I say inspirational, I do not include any type of “Rap,” “7-11” songs, or just catchy beats with no real substance.
Two songs were written in 1912 by separate authors. One was started in my home state of Michigan and completed one night in Wisconsin. The author was George Bennard, and the song “The Old Rugged Cross.” This song and the one featured in this message have been sung and recorded in just about every venue available.
That same year, C. Austin Miles wrote a very moving song called “In The Garden.” For me, this has been a most inspirational hymn, and especially since the moment I asked Jesus to totally come into my life and be my Savior. It speaks to my heart about how I would feel just to be able to take a quiet walk with My Lord in a peaceful and tranquil setting.
Just recently, I learned how the song came to be, and what the inspiration was for the author to write it. Now, it holds even greater meaning for me in my relationship with Jesus.
John 20 tells that while it was still dark on that resurrection day, Mary Magdalene went to the Savior’s tomb. She saw the stone had been rolled away from the entrance, and immediately she went to Peter and John to report this. The three of them went to the tomb. John got there first and just looked in without going inside. The body of Jesus was not there, but the cloths which had been wrapped around Him were lying there. Peter went into the tomb and saw the cloths, but also that the face cloth was “not lying with the linen cloths, but was folded in a place by itself” (v.7). After this, John and Peter returned to their homes.
After the disciples left, Mary looked into the tomb, and “she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain; one at the head, and one at the feet” (v12). They asked Mary why she was weeping. She replied, “They have taken away My Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him” (v13). Without further conversation with the angels, she turned around a saw a man she believed to be the gardener. At this point, one can feel the intense pain she was experiencing. She was weeping, and didn’t recognize who she thought was someone else. Also, I am amazed she wasn’t overwhelmed by having been in the obvious presence of holy angels.
Verse 15, “Jesus said to her, woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” She asked Him where the body of Jesus had been carried off to, and Jesus opened her eyes with just one word, “Mary.” This is the point where she finally recognized Him, and said in Aramaic, “Rabboni,” meaning “Teacher.” All anguish immediately disappeared.
It’s difficult to even imagine the intensity of her emotional state at that moment, but I believe it will be how all true believers will feel when we receive the call to rise up to meet Him in the air at the Rapture. She didn’t want to ever let Him go, which is totally understandable.
Jesus told her to go and report what she experienced to the disciples, which she did.
As for the song, Miles stated he was in a photo darkroom at his home, and began to read a favorite chapter of his in the Bible. It was John 20. He stated he believed he was inspired by the Holy Spirit to become a “silent witness” to the scene described above. He stated it was as if he were standing right at the edge of all that was happening. His vision included witnessing John and Peter arriving and departing after looking into the tomb.
After this, he states he saw in his vision, Mary turned, and she saw Jesus. Miles said he could see the Savior as if he were right there also. As she called out, “Rabboni,” Miles said he mentally returned to his room, and found he was gripping his Bible tightly. The words came to him, and he immediately wrote them down as they entered his mind. The words are exactly as he wrote them that April night in 1912; and the song is still being sung and recorded worldwide.
In The Garden:
(1) I come to the garden alone, while the dew is still on the roses. And the voice I hear falling on my ear, the Son of God discloses.
(chorus) And He walks with me, and He talks with me; and He tells me I am His own. And the Joy we share as we tarry there, none other has ever known.
(2) He speaks, and the sound of His voice, is so sweet, the birds hush their singing. And the melody that He gave to me, within my heart is ringing. (chorus)
(3) I’d stay in the garden with Him, tho the night around me be falling. But He bids me go through the voice of woe; and His voice to me is calling. (chorus)
After reading the words in a new light, the scene “In The Garden” unfolded for me to a better understanding of all three verses and the chorus. Especially the last verse. I could not figure before, why He would bid me to go. Then, after seeing his reasoning to Mary, a light bulb lit for me.
Jesus had to finish His mission here, and then ascend back to the Father, having conquered sin and death once and for all. John 14:1-3 tells us He had to go to prepare a place for us, and that He would come again and take us to be with Him. These are definite Rapture verses.
Paul tells us in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, what it will be like when we’re called up in the “twinkling of an eye” to meet Jesus in the air.
For those “In Christ” who have departed in death from the crucifixion to the current time, their overwhelming joy has occurred and will never cease. Our souls do not die, and those who were His were immediately with the Savior at their last breath. Their ultimate joy will be to return with Him at the Rapture, and they will be reunited with their earthly bodies that will convert to eternal immortal bodies at the very second of this reunion. Those who are taken up while still alive will convert just as they reach the Savior.
From that time on, no more death, pain, hate, envy, temptation, destructive pride, and all the things that are of this earth. We will be like Jesus (1 John 3:2).
For all who have accepted Jesus and belong to Him, this is a message of hope and joy and anticipation. For the secular world, 1 Corinthians 1:18 sums it up perfectly. “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are saved, it is the power of God.”
That day is rapidly approaching, and it will be at an hour when we least expect it. The “harpazo” or “Rapture” will happen, and it will be over in less than one second as referenced in the “twinkling of an eye.” The time to prepare for this is now, not put it off as Satan is trying to convince you to do. His two greatest lies are, “Did God Really Say?” and “You still have plenty of time.”
Once a person takes their last breath on this earth, their eternity is sealed. There are no “instant replays” or “do-overs.” The story of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16 is all too real.
Check out Romans 8:1; Romans 10:9-13; John 14:6 and Acts 4:12 for the steps to the Savior and why they’re most important to us. Call on Him today (Acts 2:21 and Romans 10:13; Joel 2:32) and you will be saved.
He’s waiting for you. Soon all believers will be with Him “In The Garden.”
Maranatha – Come Lord Jesus!