“Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” (Romans 5:3-4 )
Like other gardeners, I am excited with the onset of early spring, regardless of the relentless attack on my allergies. One of my favorite crops is our tomato row. I use the harvest to make spaghetti sauce for the wintertime, and the ripe delectables add a delicacy to our humble summer sandwiches.
The growing process starts early. I sprout the seeds indoors in early January. Later the tiny plants are transplanted into cups and placed on our sunny porch. There they are babied for several weeks, taken in on cold nights and brought back out on the porch during warm weather.
Finally, when all have developed into strong, hardy plants, these seedlings become permanent members of the tomato row of the garden, where they will endure the rest of the summer and fall. Once sheltered, now they must withstand heat, stormy weather and pests.
Fortunately for my green “babies,” they are not left alone. Their seemingly frail frame requires each plant to receive a tomato stake to support and keep the plant upright, relatively free from bugs and disease. I also monitor the row, watering pruning, and fertilizing as needed.
By the end of the summer, my baby tomato plants have become healthy giants, towering over the other rows in the garden. Though the plants are too weak to support themselves, they are heavy producers.
Our frames may also seem weak from effects of illness and disease, leaving us feeling helpless to withstand the pestilence of daily living. Thankfully the Master Gardener has not left us alone in our trials. He has planned everything for our benefit, even though we may not see it at the time.
Sometimes bad attitudes must be pruned away so the good fruit can have room to grow. We can learn to lean and depend on Him. While we grow, He waits patiently for the fruit of character to develop in us and produce a bountiful harvest.
Prayer: God, I know you want to mold me into a more Christ-like person. Emotional and spiritual growth is so hard when one feels well, but when dealing with so much pain, it seems even harder. Help me to see how you are using my illness, not as a deterrent to become more like Your Son, but as a tool to prune me to make me who You desire me to be.
About the author:
Tracey Brown lives on a farm with her husband in Mississippi. She has seen circumstances and God’s grace shape her despite difficulties resulting from inherited kidney disease.
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How can you see the plan of the Master Gardener when you are vulnerable to harsh conditions of daily living?