Gardening this summer has been a bit of a challenge because of the cooler temps and lack of rain. I have the most beautiful plants, but very little fruit. It's been a tad frustrating! I go out every day and just stare at my plants looking for the first sign of a harvest. And, usually, nothing.
On Sunday, on my regular rounds, I was squatted down looking at my tall, viney, lovely cucumber plant with it's pretty yellow flowers. I was lamenting at the dead leaves underneath and the lack of productivity. I thought, "What is it going to take to reap a harvest from this plant?" I just wanted to give up on it. And then there it was. No, there they were. Several little cucumbers beginning to make their way. I was so happy! In fact, I probably looked like a dork out in my garden area smiling and talking to my plants.
And then God started speaking to me. And I became silent.
I felt like God told me that, "Nicole ... you sowed your seed, you have cared for it lovingly and patiently, you have given it all it needs. No, you cannot predict what factors will affect the harvest. But, you will reap what you sow, and in the measure with which you sow it."
I thought about how I had not given up on my cucumbers, how each and every day I came out and de-weeded them, watered them, pruned them, guided the vines, and waited. Drought, shade from a pesky neighboring tree, and lack of heat kept them from producing for a time. But, I didn't give up. I kept pouring into them. And .... I am soon to reap a harvest. (Mmmm yummy pickles and cucumbers and onions!)
And then I related this concept to my life. I thought about the nastiness around me, a particular ugly situation, and the things that work against me to wreck the harvest of my life. And I went on a search.
I came upon a website called The New Family Farm which said this:
This time of year there are a limited number of things we can control as we plant. One is to put the highest quality seed into the ground. High quality seed .. has more vigor, grows at a faster rate and produces tubers that are more uniform in both size and shape. As we go through the distraction that we call planting, we know that using the right seed makes us confident we're off to a good start. Furthermore, the likelihood of a good harvest increases dramatically by starting the season on the right foot. ~ The New Family Farm
If you are a gardener, read that as it relates to your garden. Even if you aren't a gardener, read it again as you think about your life and the harvest you want to produce in it.
All we can do is to sow high quality seed in our life. I think of these things as love, kindness, patience, integrity, and many more. These things have "more vigor" and "grow at a faster rate". There are many things in our situations that are out of our control. There are weeds. And lots of them. But, we can still have control over the quality of the seed we sow. We can still pick those weeds. And, "as we go through the distraction[s]" we need to go forward with confidence in the good seed we are using. We can't let others doubt our ability to reap our harvest. When all is said and done, we will reap a bountiful harvest if we have planted this good seed and cared for it properly.
I recalled these scriptures as I was pondering these thoughts.
As I have seen, those who ploy iniquity and sow trouble will reap the same. Job 4:8
Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. Galatians 6:7
Whoever sows injustice will reap calamity, and the rod of his fury will fail. Proverbs 22:8
Just as good seed sowed will eventually reap a bountiful harvest, bad seed sowed will eventually reap a harvest of despair. Therein is where hope lies.
So, I hope to remember that as life, and those in it, try to knock me down, try to parch me with their lack of loving water, try to steal the sun from warming me, and try to keep me lukewarm or, worse, to scorch me with the heat of their hatefulness, I need to continue to sow that good quality seed, to nurture it and properly care for it, and then sit back with confidence and reap the harvest God so promises me. Just like with my cucumber plant, I will reap a bountiful harvest, in the right time.