|This is what tomato plants look after a freeze. Lovely...|
And like this:
|A lot of those shriveled up green things that look like|
dead leaves are actually serrano peppers.
That, my friends, is what happens when a garden that has been ravaged by extreme heat and drought all summer long meets up with a surprise freeze.
When I walked out the morning after the cold snap I thought I might cry.
I have to honestly evaluate my first year of gardening and admit it was a bust. A failure. A bomb. In the cost/benefit analysis equation, the cost far exceeded the benefit.
Although, there was this one benefit: I learned a lot about the Lord this summer. The garden was so chock-full of spiritual analogies I could hardly keep up.
I have always been intrigued by the verse in Psalm 126:5
"Those who sow in tears shall reap in joyful shouting."The first part of the verse perfectly describes my summer. I did sow. And I did cry....well, at least on the inside. I could never seem to get ahead. I got my plants in late. And then there was a drought. If it wasn't the lack of water it was the heat. Or maybe my soil wasn't right. Or there was the time the deer ravaged my poor plants.
Yes, my sowing did involve tears. And then when the plants finally did grow there was no fruit.
And then finally, finally some rain came and the nights cooled off. And my tomato plants put on fruit. And....
And it froze. Sigh.
Here is the fruit that fell off as I was yanking those dead plants out of the ground:
So if I am going to take God at His word (and yes I AM going to take Him His word!) then my "reaping with joyful shouting" must have meant something other than reaping tomatoes!
What I didn't reap in fruit, I think I more than made up for in lessons learned. What did I learn from my garden this year? Well...
- That I don't want to be a Christian that looks good on the outside, but that has no fruit.
- That a lack of water has the same effect on plants that the lack of Living Water has on my soul.
- That the potential for fruit is not the same thing as fruit.
- That difficult conditions might result in a season where there is no visible gain.
- That life and fruitfulness and harvest are precious gifts and require tender care.
- That neglect results in death.
- That I am not in charge and I can't control all my variables and sometimes I have to be faithful and try to do the right thing and just leave the results up to God.
Something else I learned....sometimes the harvest doesn't look like we wanted it to or expected it to.
Can I trust God enough THEN to joyfully shout anyway?
Can I trust Him enough to wait through the difficult times and WAIT for Him to bring the harvest?
Or do I have to have it now?
Maybe this was my training-wheel year of gardening. Maybe next year I can apply all I have learned this year and maybe the results will be different.
Maybe. But for now I need to soak in my lessons and apply them to some other "gardens" in my life- some that don't quite look like I want them to.
And maybe I need to trust God and shout joyfully and wait.
What is happening in your life that looks nothing like you wanted it to? Do you trust God enough to joyfully shout and then wait on Him to do what He will?
This is what my garden looks like now:
-covered in ash to replenish the soil
Waiting through the winter.
Until the spring.
When I can plant again.
Does God have you waiting through a "winter" in your life?
Leave a comment and tell me about it- I would love to hear about it and pray for you.
Someday we WILL reap and when we do, we will bring in that harvest with joyful shouting together!