But even though I did everything properly (prepared the soil, added nutrients, sowed the seeds properly and watered), the only homegrown produce in our near future is coming from the farmers’ market!
It started so promising. The peas perked out of the soil in neat rows and started to cling to the trellis I’d cleverly crafted. I envisioned verdant plants sagging under the weight of abundant pods. The lettuce, however, didn’t seem to grow at all. It took twice as long to germinate as expected and appeared to stagnate as micro plants— kind of gave a new meaning to “baby greens.”
Hmm, what did I do wrong? I consoled myself; at least we’ll have peas.
Since it’s been raining for nine straight days, I haven’t been out to garden lately but I can spy it from an upstairs window. From that vantage point it looked like the lettuce had finally started to perk up. But, I couldn’t see the peas.
Today, between breaks in the rain, I investigated the situation. While the lettuce had grown considerably, I immediately discovered why I couldn’t see the peas. There weren’t any. They were gone. Every. Single. Plant. Underneath the once proud trellis, the bare soil mocked my futile attempts at gardening.
I have no idea what happened. We don’t have deer or many pea-snatching critters. But maybe it was an animal. Were the plants have been picked by one of the many boys that have played in the back yard in recent days? Did they succumb to a mysterious rot (the plants, not the boys)?
I honestly don’t know, but I’m so disappointed.
There are lots of things in life we sow and tend to—things far more significant than produce. Sometimes we reap the harvest we expect, but other times, out of nowhere, someone or something snatches it away:
- The promotion you’ve been working toward for all those years goes to some young upstart.
- The retirement account you’ve diligently managed is now worth half its value.
- The college-age son you raised in a godly home now disavows his faith.
- The marriage you’ve lovingly tended crumbles under your spouse’s infidelity.
- The trust you’ve carefully cultivated shatters when your friend betrays you.
- The manuscript you’ve poured yourself into dies when the publisher goes out of business.
It’s human nature to be stunned and devastated. To feel that life should add up like a math equation where preparation + effort + perseverance = desired outcome. It’s easy to think God let us down.
But maybe among the trials and disappointments the roots of faith deepen. Maybe the process, not the outcome, yields the greatest harvest. Maybe the vacant spaces teach us to hold the things of this life loosely—and set our sights firmly on Jesus.
While much in this life may be snatched away, as Christians, we can rest in confidence that the most important thing of all will never be taken away—“I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.” (John 10:28)
And sometimes, as we reassess the loss in our gardens, God tells us it’s time to plant tomatoes instead.
P.S. Like the title? Hate it? My husband, who is blessed (cursed?) with a knack for creating clever turns of phrase thought it up. It was too much of a groaner to pass up!