I have a small, hobby sized vegetable garden. It by no means produces a freezer filled with vegetables to last the winter, but it does provide a modest harvest that my wife and I enjoy in late summer and early fall.
This year however, my little plantation is stunted. Beans, carrots, tomatoes, zucchini; all smaller than they should be at this point in their growth cycle. Their lack of exuberance is not from inadequate water, weeding or sunshine, as one might expect. And because I consider myself a kind-hearted farmer, I feel a touch betrayed.
I imagine you’re wondering where I’m going with this? I’m glad you asked!
This past week I was feeling spiritually low. My faith and any sense of God’s presence seemed null and void. It felt like my prayers were going unanswered and my heart wasn’t going and growing in the right direction. Have you been there? I expect so.
When I stood at the foot of my garden and stared down at my forlorn vegetables, I suddenly realized why my greens were small, spindly and unyielding. The answer was simple—I wasn’t adding fertilizer. I was depriving their roots systems of the nutrients they needed to become bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. It wasn’t any fault of the plants or seeds they germinated from. They were perfectly capable of growing to their full potential had I done due diligence in their care.
It was then God pressed upon my heart the reason for my spiritual doldrums. I had been lax in reading my bible and lazy in prayer. I had even allowed myself to become angry at God for what felt like a heavenly shun. And like my stilted garden, I had been starving my soul of the nutrition it required to stay rooted in God’s love, safe in his care—and open to receive his provisions for all things related to my daily walk.
It’s simple logic my friend. You can’t expect to feel close to God unless you work at it. Yes, I’m guilty as charged. In our busy lives, it’s easy to starve our souls of the fertilizer needed to grow strong in faith and set deep roots in our Saviour’s love. We need to recommit daily to prayer, scripture and a quiet heart. Okay, I’ll say it first. “I need to work harder at my faith.”
“The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” (Isaiah 58:11 NLT)
We are loved and cherished by a Heavenly Father who wants nothing more than to fellowship with us. He wants our time, our hearts, and he covets our prayers. It’s our job to put out the effort and to make our faith a priority.
“It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:7 NLT)
To reap a harvest, we must cultivate our souls! With that said, I need to busy myself and locate the garden fertilizer, and more importantly—reach for my bible and open its pages. There in lies a nutrient rich, seed to harvest environment!