Since moving into our home a little over a year ago, we have been on a mission to keep the grass alive, plant a small garden area in front and maintain several containers on the back patio......all alive and well. Simple, right? I can confess it has been nothing short of a gargantuan-sized rock, smack in the midst of our path fraught with more failures than I care to count. I firmly believe that God has placed us here to make the world a better and more fruitful place, so I keep trudging along, learning one hard lesson after another. You would think at my age I should have had plenty of experience, but I am woefully behind the learning curve, having spent almost 30 years out of country where others took care of the green areas where I lived. That was probably a very good thing!
Most recently, I have been researching the need for good soil, which everyone with any knowledge of gardening will agree is of primary importance. Unfortunately, however, we have been given a clay dominant soil which seems to only be hospitable to various species of cacti. The good news is, that soil can actually change and become loam. For you gardening novices like myself, that is what we are shooting for. So.......how does one get from rock-hard clay to loam?
Well, not so much unlike how our hearts change from hearts of stone to tender and responsive hearts of flesh. Little by little and bit by bit through sweat and tears and patience and heartache and suffering and death. If all those elements are not present, we simply will not reach the goal. Don’t you wish that positive growth would come about without any discomfort, or pain, or sickness or loss? Yeah, me, too, but it is just not the way it works.
In our garden area in front, we purchased some healthy soil to have at least a top layer of nutrients available. We also bought some organic food because all living things need food, after all. We dug out large enough holes, mixed everything together and gently
planted our new little green babies and gave them a good watering. I was so pleased with how it looked on the surface! Then, within only a week or so, several of them started to wilt and die. It was painful to watch. I suffered along with them and felt so helpless. Some of them survived and some of them didn’t and we couldn’t figure out why. When all hope was lost, I bought new plants, did more research and hoped for the best. Still more loss and disappointment and more plants needed to be replaced. I was heartbroken. And then it occurred to me..... God was teaching me an object lesson!
We go throughout our days planting seeds and watering and fertilizing and we expect that vibrant, green and fruitful plants will spring up because we have done “our job”. We even get a bit resentful of God when things go south and wonder “why aren’t you doing YOUR part?” But the thing is, He IS. The hard and the disappointing and the failures and the loss is exactly how our hearts are changed. It’s the sleepless nights, the pain, the exasperating co-worker......these are the things that little by little change our soil so that we will be fruitful and strong.
We live in an upside-down Kingdom. So, I will keep on learning and tilling the dead matter back into the soil and I won’t resent one more hard thing or failure, because I know that is how verdant, organic life is formed. And I will give thanks!
Written by Pam Box