Tuesday, August 13, 2019

When you don't see a harvest



 
Once more, we tried to have a garden this year.

Neither Jerry nor I are in possession of what some call a green thumb.

He doesn’t care.

I do. I want a green thumb. I plant. I water. I go back year after year and try. It’s in my blood. My parents, grandparents and other ancestors could grow things. I should be able to do it. But alas, year after year I face disaster--drought, worms, critters, soil  so hard it takes a jack hammer to break up.

This year, I told myself, was going to be different. We’d go small―just an 8 x 8 raised bed. We’d be really focused and that was sure to bring a return. We bought the landscape timbers and soil. Who knew dirt could be so expensive? Jerry, God bless him, built the bed. After the soil was mixed, we sank squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, okra, and a few zinnias into the ground. Trying to be proactive because I knew we had rabbits, as the plants began to grow, I covered them in netting. And I watered. When temps hit the nineties in late May, I had a very inflated water bill to show for it.

Then I noticed just as the plants bloomed, the blossoms disappeared. I bought poles and more net, and made a fence all around the bed. But three things told me I had a bigger problem than rabbits. The net fence was pushed over, the tomatoes were chomped, and Lucy was going crazy barking in the middle of the night, which she never does. Jerry got up to check on her one night, let her out in the back yard, and she chased a four point buck back there who  jumped the wooden fence around our yard like it was nothing.

We have harvested a few tomatoes, one zucchini squash, and about six yellow ones. All for the low, low price of $350.

 
 Mercy.

All this reminds me of a few ministry experiences we’ve had. We planted, we watered, we tended, and after a very expensive and lengthy investment, the return was not what we hoped. So frustrating.

I guess we think if we follow the plan, do what we’re supposed to do, there’s going to be a guaranteed return. There’s not.

The return is up to God.

As my husband is fond of saying, “We’re in sales, not in management.”

We have to remember, people have choices, and also, whenever we’re investing in the kingdom, the enemy is going to wage war against that work. He will target the Achilles heel and is relentless in his onslaught. Even though we may engage in spiritual warfare through prayer, sometimes there will still be disappointments.

But here’s the thing. We cannot give up hope. We have to keep planting, and tending, and watering. Because who knows what one of those seeds might turn out to be. A dry good salesman once agreed to teach a Sunday school class of teenage boys. Burdened for one of his students, he went to visit him at his place of work where he sold shoes. There in the back of a shoe store, the young D. L. Moody gave his life to Christ. It is said D. L. Moody was used by God to win more than a million souls to Christ.

But the story goes on. Here’s how one writer put it, “Through his ministry, Moody was responsible for a London pastor named F. B. Meyer coming to faith. Meyer was responsible for J. Wilbur Chapman coming to faith, and Chapman influenced Billy Sunday, another prominent evangelist of the 20th century. Billy Sunday was integral in a man named Mordecai Ham coming to faith. And Mordecai Ham was the preacher responsible for leading . . . Billy Graham to Christ.”

You may right now be planting a seed, which could turn out to be a D.L. Moody. So don’t give up, friend. Do your part and leave the results to God. Only He knows what they will be.

As for me, I’ve already started thinking about next year and how I’m going to deal with my gardening issues. I will not be defeated.

Is it wrong to hope someone else in the neighborhood gets the gardening bug, too, and maybe gives the wildlife another feeding area?
 

 
 

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

In the wake of El Paso and Dayton



 

My phone buzzed Saturday night, as did many of yours. I picked it up and read the news. My heart sank and that all too familiar sick feeling started in my stomach like seasickness as waves crash hard. I hated to tell Jerry, but I did. 

“Another shooting,” I said. “In El Paso. Looks like many casualties.”

Of course, in only hours the tragedy in Dayton unfolded. For a flickering moment, the fight or flight kicks in.  What to do, where to go in the wake of these events?

Beth Moore, a Bible teacher I respect so much, has been taking a bit of a Twitter break. Sometimes our souls need a rest from the fray. But I knew she would weigh in on this. I was right.

She tweeted yesterday morning, “It is in this evil world we must stand strong. It is in this madness we must think soundly. It’s amid these dangers our hearts must neither melt nor harden. It’s here and now we who follow Jesus must be brave and bold in love and truth, defending the defenseless and not the indefensible.”

Her words “neither melt nor harden” bore into me. That’s it, isn’t it? The horror of it all threatens to either melt us or harden us, but neither of those is an option. Somehow, we must find a way to live in these times without growing callous to atrocities or be destroyed by them. The only way to do that is by clinging to Jesus and His word.

The Psalmist realized it when he wrote, “God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging “( Psalm 46:1 -3).

He is our refuge. He is our strength. In the wake of any tragedy.  

This week Christianity Today published a piece by Taylor Schumann, a shooting survivor. She offers powerful advice on how to pray for those affected by these tragedies HERE.
 
Not melting.

Not becoming hard.

Joining with you in prayer, friends.

 

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