We can replenish depleted soil. We can plant the right seeds. We can water and wait, but if we don’t have the sun, it is all for nothing. If we don’t have the Son, it is all for nothing.
As summer starts to fade away and fall approaches, I’ve been looking at my garden and seeing the plants slowly wither. It’s time for me to make a switch to pull things out that are no longer producing fruit and to prepare my garden for a new season.
Every time I switch seasons, I am filled with a true understanding of the rhythms that God has created us. I think back to months ago when I prepared the soil for the growth of summer. I carefully pulled weeds and removed debris. I laid down fresh compost and mixed it into the soil. I added fertilizer to replenish what had been depleted. I looked for disease and determined whether or not the soil was even usable. Then I carefully began to sew seeds. I made selections based on what would grow best with what, what needed a good companion, and where everything should be placed for optimal sun exposure and growth. Then, as the season continued, I watered and fertilized and watered and fertilized. I pruned and even pulled some plants that had become diseased. And in the end, we enjoyed a bountiful harvest of fruit. Tomatoes and cucumbers and summer squash. But now all those plants have withered and died and it’s time for a new season.
Each part of the process has such a powerful spiritual parallel. Here I am again, staring at withered and dying plants, pulling them out, and throwing them into the compost bin. When we approach new seasons in life, we need to remove things that are lifeless, no longer producing fruit, to make room for the new thing God wants to do.
Disease and Depletion
At the start of the season, I inspect the soil for disease and depletion. This is where it all starts. If the soil is diseased and depleted, nothing will grow. Isn’t that the way it is after we’ve experienced a season of spiritual growth? Oftentimes, it has depleted us to produce that much fruit. We need to be replenished and restored before we can grow again. Also, disease can creep in during seasons of growth. We can get into bad habits, even feed our sin struggles. We need to deal with the disease and treat it immediately or it will kill whatever else we try to sew in the next season.
After pulling out the old and saying goodbye to the growth of the past season, I treat the soil for disease and depletion. I add fertilizer and compost to replenish it, and this is something we don’t often do when we enter a new season spiritually. We don’t often stop to say, "What refreshment do I need, Lord? Please, fill me up again. We don’t take time to replenish what has been depleted. Our eyes are already on the next season of growth, the next harvest, but there will be no growth, and there will be no harvest, if we do not replenish what has been depleted in the previous season.
Selecting What to Sow
After adding fertilizer and compost, it’s time to carefully select seeds. Again, this is something we don’t often do well. We need to carefully select what we will sow and grow in the next season. We can’t just let random seeds fall and hope for good fruit. We need to ask God for his wisdom in what we will cultivate in our lives. What is worth planting? What is worth tending? What is worth watering and caring for? We must carefully sow only the seeds that will produce the fruit we want so we can harvest the good things God has for us.
Watering and Waiting
Once the seeds are carefully selected and sewn, then begins the real work. The watering and waiting. This is where we as Christians drink of the Living Water, and we wait. We abide in Christ, and we wait. We have no idea when or how growth will appear; we just water, trust, and wait. Then, like a miracle, all of a sudden, sprouts begin to form. New buds pop through the soil, and they grow like magic, producing new growth. This only happens if we faithfully water and wait. If we don’t drink the Living Water, there will be no growth.
The Fullness of the Son
Things have to grow for quite some time before they produce fruit. There is a lot of waiting. Waiting for buds then leaves will capture even more nutrients from the sun because, without the sun, there can be no fruit. Most vegetables need to be planted in full sun. I find this so fascinating from a spiritual perspective. Just as we need the fullness of the Son, my tomatoes need the fullness of the sun, to thrive and produce fruit. We can replenish depleted soil. We can plant the right seeds. We can water and wait, but if we don’t have the sun, it is all for nothing. If we don’t have the Son, it is all for nothing.
Only after months of watering and waiting and the sun, fruit begins to appear, but only if disease has been kept at bay. This is where careful pruning comes in. We need to remove any diseased parts and leaves throughout the growing season. If we are not diligent in asking God to prune away disease, it will take us over. Just as diseased leaves can destroy a healthy plant, a diseased heart, can destroy the life of a Christian. We must continue to allow God to prune us, to keep us healthy, and hopefully, we will bear much fruit.
The Promise of Fruit
Today, I’m standing in front of a garden that is full of promise. There are wilted and dying plants that once bore fruit but still remind me of what can happen after careful cultivation. So I pull them out and begin again. I reach for the first of the old tomato plants and say a prayer. “Lord, let this be my life in this season. As I transition my garden, please transition my heart. Remove any disease that has been left unchecked in the last season. Replenish me in ways that I have been depleted. Lord, carefully select things that should be sewn and cultivated in my life and show me what things I need to sow. Give me patience as I water and wait. Help me to remain in the fullness of your Son, turning my face completely to Christ. I ask you to prune as disease appears in order to protect the things you are growing in me. God, I trust you for the fruit that will come, but I know there is so much that comes before it. Transitioning seasons takes time, but I trust you through it all. Amen.”
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Malachi Brooks