Last year was my first attempt at a vegetable garden, and it did not work out so well. I had worked so hard and was constantly out by the raised beds I’d built, checking to see how my carrots, broccoli, lettuce, zucchini, and squash were doing. I was so excited when the first sprouts began to poke through the soil – tiny bits of brilliant green that brought such a sense of accomplishment to my heart. I wanted to bring everyone I knew out to see my garden, to hear them praise my skills at bringing life out of the ground!
Then, less than two weeks after I planted, a slushy snow storm hit. I did my best to protect those fragile leaves, but, apparently, it wasn’t enough. Though about half of my plants did live, they never produced much. Of my six zucchini and four yellow squash plants, I had maybe ten (total) blossoms, of which none ever lived long enough to ripen! I lost all of my lettuce and broccoli before they could get very big at all. And, I got maybe ten carrots ranging in size from not much larger than a straight pin to about the size of a fountain pen (they did taste good, though!).
I’ll admit – I was super frustrated! All that work, all that time, for nothing?!?
As Fall rolled around, I cleaned out the beds and seriously contemplated destroying them and giving up the idea of gardening. After all, we have lots of Farmer’s Markets and grocery stores – shouldn’t I support all of those other hard-working farmers out there?
But no, thankfully God wouldn’t let me think that way for long. He convicted me to try again – but reminded me that I am not the one who is making those tiny little seeds bring forth life. I am merely another tool in His garden. And if I can keep my mind on that, I know that however productive or unproductive this garden is, it is all in His hands, and it is always a lesson for me!
Yesterday, we had a “substitute” Bible study teacher – the amazing Terry. It never ceases to amaze me how God speaks so clearly through Terry, who decided to divert from the lesson in Colossians we had all prepared for and take us to Galatians 6:7-9, where God had led him. And what, oh what, could that particular section have been about? Sowing and reaping! God’s Word and Terry’s teaching spoke so loudly to me – continually, every moment of every day, you are sowing (either sowing to the world or to the Spirit – your choice, every time). To sow to the Spirit is to deny yourself and to obey the will of the Lord – our purpose is to sow seeds for God. His Word does not say that as soon as we plant a seed, fruit will burst forth. We need to plant those seeds in faith then continue to work the soil with love, until God brings results in His time. Just because things aren’t happening the way we want them to or as soon as we want them to, doesn’t mean that God isn’t there, that God is working all things to good. We just have to obey and have faith that He is in control.
So, I’ve been working on this year’s garden for the past few weeks – preparing the soil (even digging in the old compost pile to find the good stuff!), starting seeds for planting, transferring those fragile little sprouts into the ground, planting my front porch tomato and flower pots, watering faithfully…and doing a lot of praying! I’ll do my small part, and, no matter the outcome, I’ll leave the rest up to Him, knowing that the Lord’s will is being done.
7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 8 Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit. 9 So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.