The last couple of years I've attempted to have a vegetable garden. When I was a child, I admired my grandmother's garden. She grew some vegetables, strawberries, and peach and apple trees in her little backyard. She definitely had a "green thumb"! We often thought that if she stuck a dead stick in the ground, it would sprout leaves! My sisters and I would survey her garden almost every time we visited, and couldn't wait until it was the right time of year for us to enjoy an apple or peach pie as a result of her harvest!
I don't know if it's the Texas heat (instead of the more moderate summers of Michigan), or if I haven't quite inherited the "green thumb" of my grandmother, but my garden has been hit or miss these last couple of years. It usually starts off pretty good, but by July, the plants have seen better days! I get some produce, but I wouldn't say it was abundant!
This year has been even more of a struggle. I've been doing square foot gardening, and decided we would build another box and expand the amount of gardening space. I purchased the seed, some tomato and pepper plants, and embarked on the great adventure. I had great expectations! This would be the year of a great harvest! Then it happened -- a frost! I knew it was coming, so I tried to prepare for it by covering the plants. I lost one pepper plant, but the rest of the peppers, and the tomatoes survived. Phew!! Then it happened again -- a couple days later, another frost! This time I wasn't so lucky. Even though they were covered, the tomatoes and remaining pepper plants didn't look like they were going to make it. Well, at least my green beans, cucumbers and squash were safe. They were just seeds and protected from the harsh weather. Or so I thought!
I replanted my tomato and pepper plants and waited for my seeds to sprout. The germination time was supposed to be about a week to 10 days, and I assumed since we had the cold weather, they just needed a little more time. Every day I would check the garden to see if I saw even a bulge in the dirt that would give me hope that something was growing. Nothing! After 3 weeks, I decided it was a lost cause and I needed to replant the seeds. I dug up the dirt, still anticipating I would find something starting to sprout, but to my disappointment there was NOTHING! I diligently planted the seeds again, wondering if it was even worth it. For the money I have invested in the garden this year, I could have bought baskets of fresh veggies from the Farmer's Market!! Nevertheless, I planted the seeds and then began to wait again.
Well, that was five days ago, and when I went out to my garden this morning I was encouraged! There were about four cucumber seeds sprouting, and though I don't see them yet, there are a few little bulges in the soil where the green bean seeds were planted. My squash have sprouted, and I have renewed hope. There are still times of heat to come, along with the threat of bugs and the need for water and fertilizer, but there is hope.
Isn't that like life? We think we're planted, maybe even a fairly "established" plant, and then a frost comes, or maybe it's the heat. If the weather doesn't get us, we feel like we've been eaten up by the bugs, or feel so malnourished or thirsty, we don't think we'll survive, let alone produce any fruit. I have good news. There is still hope. We have a "Master Gardener" who tends to us. He knows exactly what He's doing. He knows when we need water or fertilizer. He knows when we need to be pruned. He longs for us to produce an abundant harvest. John 15:1-8 describes Jesus as the vine and His Father as the vineyard keeper. We become fruitful when we abide in Him.
I was further encouraged by a passage I recently read in Luke 13:6-9. There was a fig tree that hadn't produced fruit in three years. The man told the vineyard worker to cut it down! He said, "why should it even waste the soil?" The vineyard worker requested one more year to dig around it and fertilize it. He had hope, he was not willing to give up. Perhaps you've been unfruitful for years. You think you are just "wasting the soil" you stand on. You wonder if God has just given up on you. The answer is NO! He continues to work the soil of your life and provide the spiritual nourishment you need. He may have to prune you or kill off a few "bugs," but the result will be an abundant harvest if you're willing to submit to His tending.
Perhaps you have felt the Lord leading you to do something new, or to try something you've been too fearful to try before. You've planted some "seed" but haven't seen anything "sprout" yet. Don't give up! Even if the seed needs to be replanted, there is hope! Trust in the Lord of the Harvest!
Get ready! The harvest is coming!