The Garden

I had wanted very much to plant a vegetable garden this last spring, but I got a late start due to illness and deadlines at work. So, I dug up a smaller section of the huge garden that was once there. I couldn’t afford to buy or even rent a tiller, so I did this with a shovel, rake, and hoe, in the heat of early summer. I made enough room for just a few of my favorites…maybe some tomatoes and peppers and a row of okra. It was too late for seeds, and I found myself too broke even to buy plants at the nursery.

I decided to tend and weed the area I’d dug up, thinking that then I’d have a few extra dollars next payday to buy plants. So, I walked out early one Saturday to weed in the cool of the morning. I decided to survey the weed-choked back area of the garden, to see if I should mow it and turn it back into law or continue to enlarge the garden. It was a real mess, and it reminded me of my life at the moment…overgrown with stuff that had needed tending, hurried, tangled in broken relationship, a failing marriage, financial troubles, a recent separation, and a fear of going it alone. I slowly ventured into the thicket of tall weeds, some over my head.

To my absolute amazement, I began to see…a tomato plant here, a pepper plant there. Lots of okra plants nearly a foot tall…beans! More tomatoes! I got my shovel and began digging them up, planting them in perfect rows in the patch of dirt I had tilled. There among the weeds, were “Volunteer” plants than I could squeeze into rows in my little tilled patch! I thank God for His bounty, and as I stood still it was as if I heard Him say, “You don’t have to have perfectly prepared soil for me to produce fruit. In you I have fruit among the weeds.”

All summer long I gathered harvest out of my garden. But the most plentiful came from among the weeds. It was exciting to go out and peer into a clump of grass and find a few plump sun-ripened tomatoes there. I gathered more okra than I could eat, from a wild patch at the back end of the “weed patch.” God showed me that He does the work, the growing, the producing of fruit. It was a time when He knew I needed to “rest from my labors” and let Him provide for me. Before this summer of the “fruit among the weeds” I had always thought that after I had worked and suffered and “gotten my life in order” God would bless me. He showed me that He would bless the mess, weeds and all.

Reprinted from the 1990 issue of S-Anews©.