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The patience and goodness of the Master Gardener

Over the past month, I’ve been busily harvesting beans, late peas, broccoli, cucumbers, cauliflower and beets.

Heirloom tomatoes are finally ripening, and deep green pumpkins are transforming to brilliant orange. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? What I failed to mention is that, from the moment we sowed our seeds and tucked tender plants into our raised beds, we’ve been in a constant and ferocious battle with what we jokingly call the neighborhood miscreants.

There are only four pumpkins left ripening, because some sneaky creature made a feast of the rest. Plump green worms tunneled their way through the cauliflower heads. Meadow mice munched through the potatoes. Under the cover of darkness, a porcupine family climbed our Vista Bella tree to systematically chew off limbs and consume the reddening apples once they fell to the ground. Rabbits, turkeys, raccoons and deer assume the purpose of our persistent watering and weeding has been to create a supplemental round-the-clock buffet for their foraging pleasure.

But there is a bigger problem with a different source. Portions of garden beds are completely barren, though we carefully seeded the rows — two times. Obviously, we sowed bad seed into the soil and consequently reaped a bad return. The joys of gardening!

Throughout the summer, my gardening experiences have reminded me of God’s divine design. I find it interesting that natural laws often reflect or point to corresponding spiritual laws or truths. Physical laws, such as gravity, thermodynamics, and aerodynamics, are constant and unchanging.

Can it be that there are unseen spiritual laws which are also constant?

The Apostle Paul gives very clear insights into one of God’s unchanging spiritual laws: “Don’t be misled — you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. 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,” Galatians 6:7-8.

The original language Paul wrote in, Greek, has a tense here that pictures a continual, steady sowing. The effects are not immediate, for the day we plant the seed is not the day we eat the fruit, but the harvest will come.

Jesus affirmed that truth when He stated, “with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you,” Luke 6:38. We may decide that we don’t like this spiritual law, but, just as the law of gravity does not change because we don’t like it, God’s laws don’t change simply because we don’t agree with them.

Sometimes, we attribute life’s occurrences to luck or karma, but good or bad karma has nothing to do with the course of our life — trusting in luck is simply a superstitious belief.

Instead, I’ve had to ask myself, “What kind of seed am I sowing?” Am I planting good seeds or weed seeds? Will they produce helpful or harmful fruit in my life or the lives of those around me? Am I making good choices? Are my words and actions scattering seeds of patience, mercy, and kindness, or seeds of discontent, bitterness, and anger?

Sometimes, it’s been necessary to seek God’s forgiveness and ask Him to help me pull up the bad seeds I’ve planted.

Other times, I have had to pray and ask Him for a crop failure! But, over the course of time, the garden of my life has been gradually weeded out to make room for the planting of wholesome seeds.

As a result, the harvest is becoming increasingly nourishing and beneficial, all thanks to the patience and goodness of the Master Gardener.

Michelle Smith serves alongside her husband, Gary, as part of the leadership team of New Life Christian Fellowship. She founded Purely Women Ministries with the purpose of helping women of all ages discover their true identity as women of God. A fifth generation Alpena native, she counts it a privilege to live in northern Michigan and enjoys flower gardening, canoeing, rustic camping and all things outdoors. She can be reached at church@newlifealpena.org.