So here I am beginning the second year of our church's CommUNITY Garden, learning amazing lessons along the way about God's goodness and mercy - not to mention the lessons about how the body of Christ should look. For example, these carrots were such a wonderful surprise last week!
I went down to the garden to clear the carrots out in order to prepare the bed for new crops. Fully expecting to pull out rotted, dead carrots, I was shocked at what I saw. Carrot after carrot was beautiful and ORANGE! Instead of putting them straight into the compost bin, they went into the bin for washing and giving away. After I got over the initial shock of the blessings, I began to thank and praise God for His provisions. He causes things to grow - even in the winter. Even when all around seems cold and dead, growth is happening underneath.
Carrots are sneaky and mischievous vegetables. Nothing is what is seems with carrots. They are a lot like people as they grow in their faith. I must be careful not to judge because I don't have all the facts.
Earlier in the season, I just knew they were ready to be picked because the greenery was lush and thick. In my mind the carrots had to be at least half as big as the amount of greenery showing out for all to see above the ground. However, I would be disappointed over and over again by puny immature carrots that were not fit to be eaten. Oh, they were a lot of show, but they couldn't back it up once they were brought out into the light. Unfortunately we often teach new Christians the "lingo" without focusing on deeper subjects like living the Word over saying the words, partly because we aren't doing such a hot job ourselves modeling depth.
The best trick these carrots had going for them was that they are a winter crop! If I had thought through the Peter Cottontail stories at Easter time, it would have made more sense to me. Still, I was completely flabbergasted to pull completely healthy carrots out of the earth after doing practically nothing for them all winter. Thanks to lots of snow and rain, they had been watered well. God took care of them! In the middle of death and destruction, growth was happening. Don't we grow and mature so much when we are dealing with hurts or difficulties? The lessons lived and learned about God's provisions (water) and faithfulness stay with us longer than any "fill-in-the-blank Bible lesson" we will ever do. When we learn these lessons we just want to share them, don't we?
God provided so well for those carrots that we had the church preschoolers come out and pick a carrot during their Easter Egg Hunt. Every preschooler got to take home a carrot he or she pulled out of the earth. The excitement on each child's face was such a blessing to me.
my soul rejoices in my God.
For he has clothed me with garments of salvation
and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness,
as a bridegroom adorns his head like a priest,
and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.
For as the soil makes the sprout come up
and a garden causes seeds to grow,
so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness
and praise spring up before all nations. (Isaiah 61:10-11 NIV)