Garden: Growing Through Trials, God, Life, Trials

Garden: Growing Through Trials

Heirloom tomato

By +Jeanne Takenaka @JeanneTakenaka

It’s hard to believe that three months ago, I began the “great adventure” of container gardening. Okay, maybe it’s not a great adventure, but it has been a new adventure.

Okay, maybe it’s not an adventure. But, it is an experience.

Zucchini Plant

The results: most of the plants that came up from seed have survived. The green onions withered the day after they broke through the surface of the soil. The place I set them was too hot for the delicate seedlings. Lesson learned.

The zucchini have contracted something—fungus?—that’s tried to destroy each of the four plants. A few zucchini died on the vine, but others have begun to grow. I think some will be ready to harvest in the next couple weeks.

Zuke infected leaf

Zucchini

And the tomatoes? The seedlings outgrew the tomato guards I placed around them. It’s taken time, care, sunlight and lots of water to get them to where they’re producing fruit. We’ve eaten a few of the ripened cherry tomatoes, and the wait has been worth it! Who knew it takes heirloom tomatoes over a month on the vine to grow and ripen? Still waiting on that taste sensation.

Tomato plants

 

Cherry Tomatoes

The flowers have bloomed in bright colors and made my heart sigh with contentment.

There’s something about caring for plants. I’m still trying to help my zucchinis survive. If they die, I’ll feel I’ve failed them somehow. The tomatoes require much more water than I realized. This isn’t a problem, it’s just a reality I learned by almost losing them.

Petunias

As I’ve cared for these plants which will in turn yield sustenance for our family, I’m discovering similarities to my walk with God.

When I began the garden, I naively thought all I would have to do was water the plants each day, and they would simply grow.

I never considered the reality that some of my plants might get “sick.”

Cucumbers

Don’t we sometimes undertake our walk with the Lord with the naive thought, “I’ve got Jesus on my side now. Nothing can go wrong.” By “nothing,” we tend to mean, everything will be smooth going from that point on.

But, that’s not how the Lord works. He allows trials into our lives for a number of reasons. Sometimes we wilt when we don’t receive enough water into the soil of our hearts. We become discouraged if we don’t get our daily dousing of God’s word to refresh us.

We may be doing everything right in our walk with the Lord, yet He still allows fungus in the form of illness or even tragedy into our lives. Does it mean He loves us less than someone else because we  are the ones He chose to allow to suffer?

No. He loves us passionately, completely and perfectly.

The truth is, as we walk alongside the Lord, bad things still happen. Fruit on the vines of our lives sometimes withers from illness. Our leaves may become infected with some sort of fungus that weakens our physical bodies.

His love for us doesn’t change, just because difficult seasons come. We can trust in the truth of His word, in the steadiness of His character. If we lean into Him, believing the truth of who He is—if we choose to depend on Him anyway—God is able to produce healthy, beautiful blooms and fruit in the aftermath of the trials.

Zinnia orange

I’ve had to ask lots of questions about how to best care for my “garden.” I’m doing my best to take good care of my plants. The great thing about God is that He knows exactly what we need. And, He gives it at just the right time.

We are on a great adventure when we invite God to walk with us—lead us—through this life. And He knows how to care for us each step of the way.

What about you? What great adventures have you undertaken? What fruit have you seen God produce in your life as a result of trials?

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6 thoughts on “Garden: Growing Through Trials”

  1. First my intimacy with the Lord has to be nurtured so that when the drought comes, or the fungus attacks, my root system remains strong. The cancer journey nourished my soul generously as Jesus joy filled me beginning to end. It strengthened me to publish a book about establishing that relationship with our amazing God. Trials can carve beauty into our character~ like the Gunnison River God started so long ago molded the breathtaking Black Canyon we enjoy today.

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  2. Had to think about this one for a bit, because the pat answer really isn’t the right one.

    Trials may serve to bring one closer to God, or deepen one’s faith…but only to a point. Beyond that it’s simply an ordeal, and one has to fight back hard, without much consideration for the niceties of life and faith.

    I’m not a terribly good person to be around these days (unless you’re a stray dog). I’ll listen to tales of normal life, but I don’t smile much, and never laugh. And I just don’t have anything to contribute. I mean, who really wants to hear it? I wouldn’t. And I don’t want to look like I’m trying to elicit sympathy by talking about it.

    Writing about it in places like this can be, I hope, a help to others, to understand themselves, and to understand what people in their lives may be facing.

    I’m supposed to be dead already, and it would be cool to say that every day saved from that is a joy. Wouldn’t be right, though. There ARE good moments, but the mantra has to be, “This is going to hurt, and it doesn’t matter if it does.”

    Because in the end, it doesn’t matter. Same 24 hours for everyone. And one can use pain and illness as an excuse for indolence, but in the end, it’s still an excuse.

    Now, greatest adventure. Can’t talk about it. But it was certainly an adventure, and I don’t ever want to be there again.

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    1. Andrew, you bring up a good point about trials. Yes, growing in our faith sounds good, but sometimes—oftentimes—the growth/enduring the trial is not pretty. They change a person and the perspective about life. I hope I didn’t sound Pollyanna about trials and illness. I sincerely appreciate the perspective you’ve added here. And yes, as you share about your struggles, you encourage others, and you encourage a deeper understanding for those who are going through severe suffering.

      And oh, I wish I could hear about your adventure…..but I understand not being able to share. 🙂 Maybe on the other side of heaven…. 😉

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  3. Beautiful pictures! Kudos to you for taking such good care of your plants. We see all the efforts that went in in the form of these flowers and veggies. I grew a little patio garden myself and though I started almost in June, I did get to eat some tomatoes from my garden. Isn’t it amazing 😀 Gardening is so much fun!

    -Tanya
    http://tanyaanurag.blogspot.com/

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    1. Gardening is fun, Tanya. I’m taking notes for how to do things better next year. 🙂 I still have tomatoes growing, and I’ll keep encouraging them until the first frost. 🙂 One plus: My kids love the fresh-from-our-garden produce. 🙂

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