My husband and I have a little garden in the backyard of the parsonage. It is a small garden plot, just large enough that you can’t reach all the way across from one side to the other, but small enough that you might try. I have seen how some people can make both “little” and actually little gardens produce a lot of goodies, so much so that they have enough to share (and for the occasional bag of fresh produce, the plump tomato or asparagus bundle that lands on my desk – I am thankful). But this garden of ours is not a prize winning plot, part of that is the nature of being comprised of back-fill soil and part of that is lack of attention by me. It wasn’t until almost June that I got out to even start to clear last fall’s debris out and by that time 2/3 of it was covered in freshly growing knee-high grass. So I went out into the garden expecting the reality of what I could see – weeds, grasses, and the need for a lot of physical labor to just get it to the point where new things could be planted. However, sometimes things are not only as they appear. Sure there were weeds, sure there were a lot of grasses to remove but in between the grasses and the weeds, I found a treasure. There were 6 lush strawberry plants and 4 melon plants that had restarted from the seeds of last year. From my previous vantage point, I didn’t see the beauty growing between the weeds. Cleared out and ready to plant, I already had the beginnings of this years garden. Often we get caught up in the weeds. They can seem daunting and overwhelming, like it might be easier to take the fence down and let it return to the rest of the lawn. But signs of life were already there waiting for me like beacons of hope. As I discovered each one, I got a new jolt of joy to see the reality that God is already working in the rocky, back-fill soil of that garden plot. It is that way with our faith sometimes, we get lost in the mere reality that weeds come, we become overwhelmed by the idea of the task (and tasks) at hand. It is then we don’t see what is working just below the surface until we are willing to wade into the trouble.
“Faith is the reality of what we hope for, the proof of what we don’t see.” Hebrews 11:1 (CEB) .