Last spring, I planted 4 square foot gardens in my backyard. The area had plenty of sun, the soil was perfectly ready for anything I could throw at it. Since it was my first time with a vegetable garden, I decided to order seeds instead of buying plants. Though this was probably a mistake, God taught me so much during this process that I wouldn’t have learned otherwise. I also began composting to provide quality fertilizer for my garden down the road.
At first, my garden was nothing but dirt. Little seeds were making their way to the soil’s surface, but I couldn’t see that. I just watered dirt. I watered dirt faithfully, knowing that anyone who casually walked up wouldn’t have understood, but I knew in my heart that exciting things were going on under the surface. This reminded me of being in a counseling situation or witnessing to someone. We see no change, we just keep on watering the dirt, until one day – Bam! There’s a tiny sprig of hope coming up out of the dirt. All that watering has done something! If you’ve been praying faithfully for years and see no change, please know that things are happening! You just can’t see them yet! God is faithful, and your prayers are not going to waste!
Composting is weird. Garbage goes into a box, and something that gives life comes out. What?? Not sure of the science here, but all of it reminds me of the great exchange that Jesus made for us. We give Him all of our garbage and He makes something out of it. In fact, our garbage only leads to death; He is causing life to issue from death! No one else can do that! In fact, if I let my brain go a step further, He made us from dirt (death), and only He adds life to all the dirt from which we are made. If He didn’t do that, we are all just death walking around. Nothing that is put into that container comes out the same way it went in. It is dramatically and radically changed!
I wish I could say that I grew some amazing vegetables and I’m snacking on my homegrown radishes right now, but I can’t. Something very horrible took place about 2 months after I started watering dirt. My plants got to a certain height and just – stopped. As I was, with extremely limited knowledge, trying to access the situation, I noticed that the ground in my planters was very hard. Very hard. I grabbed my trusty hand rake and went to town. A week later, nothing. I became pretty sure that the ground was too hard for the roots to grow adequately, so the plants themselves were stunted. Boo. I heard a memory verse in my head, “Break up your fallow ground…”. Looking up the rest, I found “Break up your fallow ground for it is time to seek the Lord till He come and rain righteousness upon you.“ Hosea 10:12.
Fallow means “dormant, inactive”. The Lord desires for us to have hearts that are ready to receive His word. Ground that is too hard is like a heart that is hardened to Him – there’s no way for water to get down to the seed, and the seedling can’t fight to grow in soil that is too hard to stretch out in. We have to take an active role and prepare our hearts to receive the seed that the Lord is planting, so that it will grow in due time and make more seeds to plant elsewhere.
So, here I am, a year later. Spring is upon us. I’m ready. I’ve been cold for far too long this year. My gardens are barren. I’ve uprooted all of the dead plants – all of the stuff that was meant to feed us only for a season. I had more success in my garden than I initially thought I would. Most importantly, I am wiser about what plants I can grow and what it takes keep them alive. The Lord has shown Himself faithful and true. This year…I’m thinking flowers.