This year, like many other years, we planted a garden.
We started everything from seed this year, which was a first. The spring weather, however, was not all that promising. It was cold and rainy for weeks on end. We went ahead anyway and put everything in the ground, and went on vacation. During that vacation, the temperature warmed up but the rain didn't stop. In fact, one day the temperature jumped to 100 degrees. We thought for sure the garden would go into shock or be fried when we returned.
But it didn't. In fact, it turned out to be our best garden ever. We pulled in hundreds of cherry tomatoes, a dozen green peppers, a few dozen cucumbers, some snap peas, and some nice Beefsteak tomatoes. We even had sunflowers that grew over six feet tall. We canned salsa and spicy green tomatoes and gave produce to some relatives in need. What was amazing is that the warm weather continued past September and into the second week of October.
This past week I started to clear out the garden for winter, which meant uprooting both good plants and weeds, while adding some compost. For some odd reason, I thought of this verse in Matthew 13:30 (NKJV):
"Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, “First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn.""All of the plants in our garden got the same amount of water, attention, and Miracle-Gro. Yet, it took until September before the green peppers began to flourish and October before buds started appearing on the Brussels sprout plants. As I was clearing out some of the tomato plants, I found several that were growing more horizontal than vertical. Had I staked them properly, though, they would have been six feet tall!
As I looked over the plants and dropped them in the trash, I realized they all had responded to the Miracle-Gro in some way or another. Some were late to the party, while others created produce regardless of the weather. In short, they persisted in growing despite the circumstances.
Now if God does a miracle in your life, what do you do with it? Do you keep it to yourself, or worry about the response from people when you share what has happened? Do you think people will look at you like your some kind of nut if He healed you or changed your financial situation? Do you believe it when other people share what He has done in their lives or take a wait-and-see approach? Why do so many people hesitate to share a bona fide miracle in their lives?
I'm coming to realize more and more that much of this comes back to doubt...doubt whether God really is who He says He is, and whether He can back up His word with action. Or we don't think He can pull us through situations with difficult co-workers, family members, or even addiction. Or we've let the world reduce God and the Bible to nothing more than an intellectual argument. Or we've bought into the lie that spiritual gifts don't exist anymore and that all the prophecies in the Bible have been fufilled already. Or, maybe it's the whole persecution thing that hangs us up, despite every book in the New Testament having something to say about the subject.
I know what it is like to live in times of popularity (well, somewhat), as well as times of obscurity. I know what it is like to post an online comment and watch it soar like a rocket as well as posting comments that seem to make threads drop like a stone (lots of those!). I've taught Bible studies where lots of people routinely showed up, and grumbled during other ones where only a handful showed up because the topics were difficult. I've even read in multiple places about how blogging about either religion or politics is counterproductive, unless it is part of your "platform".
In the end, though, the obscurity won't matter. The number of times I've posted online won't matter. The count of individuals showing up for studies won't matter either, nor will it matter how many books I've written.
What will matter is if I watch my friends get tossed into the fire because I refused to speak up or share what God has done in my life with someone in need. In the end, when the gardener picks us all up by the roots and looks to see what we've done, I hope the "miracle grow" that was put into my life produces a bountiful harvest, imperfect as I am. I know I fail at this sometimes, but every day brings another chance to reach a little higher into the sky.