Mint is a beautifully invasive plant. You may enjoy its scent until it overcomes your garden choking everything else out. Is it good or is it evil? Who can say?
At the beginning of the story of Job Satan suggests that Job only trusts God for the good things he gives him, “Have you not put a hedge around him and his household and everything he has?” (1:10) God allows evil after evil to befall Job. I’m not sure about the original, but the ESV translation uses the same phrase when Job cries out, “Why is light given to a man whose way is hidden, whom God has hedged in?” (3:23) God’s presence, one pleasurable to Job became hostile. Later in the narrative Job describes how God has caught him in a net, attacked him with violence, walled him in and laid siege to him (19). Is God distant? No, he says, “Have mercy on me, have mercy on me, O you my friends, for the hand of God has touched me!” God is present when everyone else has left him and His presence is horrifying. And yet, a breath later he sings those words that inspired Handel, “I know that my Redeemer lives, and at the last he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God, whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes will behold, and not another. My heart faints within me.” To fall into the hands of the living God is a fearful and wonderful thing.
John Donne picks this frightening irony out so beautifully, so clearly in his holy sonnet XIV,:
“Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me. ”
God has woven this message throughout creation. He is invasive and startling. He is not safe. We cannot control or understand his ways. When we are overwhelmed with grief what can we say? We do not want an answer, there is none. We are not God. We can only trust.
As much as I rip the mint out of my garden it is there, haunting me. God is more invasive than mint. He created all, so there is no way of ripping him out of his creation. He is in my mind, in my fingers, in my husband, children, friends and strangers. As in the song, “St Patrick’s Breastplate” “Christ before me, Christ behind me” He is everywhere – there is no escape.