Ever since I was a little girl, spring and summer was spent along the outer edge of my father’s garden. He tilled the ground for the first time the spring of 1972. The smell of freshly tilled soil still brings a smile to his face today. This past June I came home from school one day to see a row of forty some tomato plants newly planted. Dad was on the deck lost in thought while staring at his newly planted garden.
“Dad, what are you thinking about?”
With a smile, “see those tomato plants?” I nod. “As the plants grow taller and the wind comes in off our wonderful Lake Ontario…we will lose plants again this year unless we figure out a way to support them.”
I love our times sitting on the deck. Times of reflection, memories and plans for the future are common; time with my Dad…priceless. But this isn’t the focus of the blog, just a bonus tidbit.
The next day as I drive come to my parent’s property I notice there are two 4x4’s staked on either side of the tomato plant row with a rope attached from their tops. Once in the driveway I make my way to the garden first before going inside, intrigued by the new addition. With each step forward I can see a multitude of fluorescent green strings tied to the top rope and staked in the ground near the base of the tomato plant.
My Dad’s voice startles me, “What do you think kid?”
“Very cool. Great Idea, hopefully it works.”
After walking around the property and checking both gardens we join my mom on the deck to enjoy the breeze. As we sit, the breeze gently moves the green strings ~ the view takes my breath away and I find myself thinking of the Parable of the Sower.
“I’ll be right back; I need to snap a picture.”
The purpose of the support beams, rope and string are to stabilize and support the tomato plants as they grow and start to produce a healthy fruit. The plants grow along the string, with its leaves and stems weaved around the string. The rope gives a little as the weight of the tomatoes begin to take its toll but the plant continues to grow upwards, using the string as its support and guide. Dad’s invention is a success…the majority the plants make it.
But not all the plants make it. A couple of the strings didn’t withstand the wind. Some broke as rocks worked their way to the surface and cut them. And then some of the plants produced beautiful fruit but they fell from the vine, losing their nourishment before the harvest.
Others grew and at first glance appear to be a beautiful fruit until it is picked and turned. Instead of a sphere of red, there is rot and decay. The lack of sunlight or its resting in the dark and coldness of the dirt prevent it from reaching its full potential. While attached at the vine, it was still deficient and unable to be a blessing to someone, as a meal.e to edit.
Isn’t that like us? We are the tomato plant in need of a solid foundation, nourishment and someone to meet our needs in order to grow to our full potential.
The two outer beams represent Jesus and God, strong and able to support us. The rope along the top represents God’s love reaching out to us. The green strings are the Holy Spirit interceding on our behalf.
Do you remember the strings that broke? The Holy Spirit hasn’t left us but instead Satan’s lies and schemes break our bond and support. We just need to keep our communication open and even though the string may sway, we are never alone. We need to hang on and with God’s help…we’ll get through.
And then there is the Christian who appears to be connected to God, trusting Him to provide for their needs on the outside but their heart is buried underneath the darkness of life. Instead of pruning the leaves, this person is buried deeper into the darkness – only to wait for someone to pick it up and show it some love.
In my father’s garden, there is no waste. We pick “ugly” tomatoes, but they taste just as good once they are washed. Some are “bruised” or “rotted” on one side, but once washed with the bad part removed, it tastes good. Of course there are some tomatoes that aren’t salvageable, but they still have a purpose. They become fertilizer for next year’s garden ~ martyrs for the garden.
Haven’t we all been bruised before? Haven’t we all felt ugly, rotten and unsalvageable before? Yet we are still here, as long as we have breath ~ we have hope. Our hope needs to be in Jesus. He is the solid foundation and can redeem anyone in any situation when he or she opens their heart to Him, confesses their sins and acknowledges Jesus shed His blood for those very sins. He rose again and loves you ~ will you trust him?
Lisa M Buske
P.O. Box 323