THE GARDEN TALE
By Elizabeth Adekanmi
During the spring/summer of 2020, as we were all in the middle of lock down with only essential services open and children activities at a standstill, I was desperate for creative ways of engaging the children. One of the things we did was to try our hands at container gardening. Off I went to the shop to buy seedlings and seed packet. We got some strawberry plants that were beginning to flower, compost and suitable containers. After transplanting the seedlings, being eager to eat our very own strawberries, we added some plant food we had at home. We tried to attract pollinators to get the job done. With daily watering and care, we were convinced nature will take its course and we’ll soon be having health dessert to accompany our dinner.
After a while, instead of the flowers turning into fruits, they all withered and fell off. The plant began to grow leaves wildly, sprawling everywhere. Surprised by the turn of events, we doubled our watering schedule in order to combat the heat, we wanted to do our best hoping the plant will come round and bear the desired fruit before the season come to an end. To our disappointment, nothing of such happened. All other things we planted; Spinach, tomatoes and potatoes grew and were harvested but not the strawberry.
So, that planting season came to an end, and all the annual plants were spent. Some bugs began boring holes in the leaves just then. In came the frost and winter. Often am saddened when I see these strawberry plants that had failed to bring the much-expected fruits. One morning, as I looked them over, I was somewhat infuriated by how much space they have taken and decided to pulled them off. As I yanked at the first plant, a thought came to me to leave them and see what becomes of them. This brought to mind the biblical story of the gardener who pleaded with the land owner to allow him dig round the fig tree and manure it one more year.
But he answered and said to him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and fertilize it. Luke 13:8NKJV
Fast forward this spring/summer, the plants blossomed and flourished. Before we knew it, they were fruit laden. Honestly, you have never eaten a more delicious strawberry! The fruits were not only tasty, but also kept well. They did not rot quickly like we know commercial strawberries to do.
As mundane as the situation narrated above may be, it is a picture of many situations we find ourselves in life. It got me seriously thinking. If in our disappointment and frustration we had uprooted the poor plants, we would not have had the privilege of seeing the plants’ turnaround, let alone enjoy the sweet fruits they produced. The plants were victims of my weight of expectation. When they did not perform as expected, my initial reaction was to uproot them.
Likewise, is there anything in your life that you have invested time and effort into but have not yielded the desired result? Have you nursed great expectations that have been met with disappointments? Could it be your children or does it relate to your marriage? Extended family situations or relationships you have built over time? It might be true that like us, you applied the wrong fertilizer. Or you killed it with too much love as it was with our watering schedule. Whatever the case may be, may I counsel you not to uproot it yet? Stop your comparison. That child is an individual sent here by God with a specific purpose attached to a predetermined time. Other children that age might have achieved this and that, he or she will get to that milestone at God’s appointed time. Late blooming roses bring the most delight in my opinion.
If it relates to a difficult marriage, our Lord’s first miracle in Cana was at a wedding. There was no need for a miracle until the wine ran out! Nagging your spouse to compliance is a poor strategy; it’s not only tiring but might only result into hardening them. It’s solely the voice of the Maker that a creature cannot refuse! Filing for divorce? Hear the master say: “Fill the water pots with water”.
The best we can do is to hand it over to God and trust Him with the situation. A change of approach or method might be what is required. But how do we know how best to go about it when we ourselves are disconnected from the source- Jesus Christ? Has the ‘flowers’ of salvation and consecration withered from our lives? Are we just sprouting the leaves of religion? Or we are being fed upon by the bugs of anxiety and worry? The first step towards recovery is to retrace our steps back to the cross, be reconciled with God and surrender our lives and our living. The Lord Jesus testified of Himself in John 15 Vs 1 as the true vine and God the Father, the Vinedresser. The job of pruning and purging are His. The more we abide in Him, the better we are able to know and tell the difference between what should be cut off and what needs tending for fruitfulness. In fact, He Himself will see to it.
Our request should not merely be to eat fruit from the ‘plant’ but we must be prepared for whatever outcome He brings us in His sovereignty. That His will be done in every situation must be our resolve.
In some instances, the ‘seed’ we were given to ‘sow’ by nature will take long to mature. The temptation to dig it off, and go for a quick fix then is great especially if others around us are celebrating their harvest.
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes, it is a tree of life. Proverbs 13:12 NKJV
The beauty and potential of the expected harvest when it eventually comes is well worth the pain of waiting. The admonition God gave us through Apostle Paul is:
And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap if we do not lose heart. Galatians 6:9NKJV
And don’t allow yourselves to be weary in planting good seeds, for the season of reaping the wonderful harvest you’ve planted is coming! Galatians 6:9 TPT
I commend us to God as we consider these things, that He will help us to make corrections and seek His strength as it relates to us. Amen.