May 7, 2016

Lessons of Faith from the Bean Row {Fresh from the Garden}

When you live on a farm, there are life lessons all around you. Lessons in how to treat each other and lessons in spirituality. Being in nature, tends to bring people closer to God. I suspect it has something to do with being surrounded by something that man did not make. It helps us to look beyond ourselves. This is one of the reasons I love gardening. There are so many incredible life and spiritual lessons wrapped up in gardening...and this week, my lesson in faith came while weeding a row of beans.
I didn't seek out a lesson. I never do. They just sort of come to me while I meditate in the garden. Do you do some of your deepest thinking while gardening? I seem to. I am shocked at how much I talk to myself. And plants. I talk to my plants. Because that's normal. (nod your head at me in agreement)
Anyways, yesterday I was working on replanting a row of peas that didn't take. I am 99% sure birds stole all my peas. As I was replanting, there wasn't a single pea to be found anywhere. It's not the first time that's happened. We lost a row of corn and beans last year for the same reason. But that's not where my lesson came from. Though of course, this scripture NATURALLY jumped into my head:
“And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them." (Matthew 13:4)
Except they didn't fall by the wayside. They were planted and still got devoured. Stupid birds.


Anyways, I planted the rest of my cilantro and basil in the former pea row, and then finished it off with my Cantare Green Bush Bean. Just about 7 plants at the end of the row. And then I turned and started checking out my bean plants in the next row over. I like to see how many I have, and then fill in any gaps with new seed. Now the ones I planted before were Black Bush Beans, but it really doesn't matter when it comes to beans--bush beans can grow right next to other bush bean varieties. 

So I went down the row, squatting to get a better look. I had several beautiful seedlings about 5" tall with their leaves unfurled. So hardy and strong and healthy. 

"Looking great fellas! Reach for the sun, unfurl your leaves and grow grow grow!" I cheered.

Then I noticed I had a gap after about 4. So I grabbed a handful of the other bean seeds and dug with my finger to drop one in....except, I noticed there was not a gap--it was just a bean plant with its leaves missing. It was still standing strong, even though it was "naked", and I could see the beginning of tiny little new leaves. 

So I added a smidge of extra fertile dirt around it, whispered words of comfort 
"You can do it! You are going to be beautiful. Just stay strong." 

From my experience, even the naked sprouts end up doing just fine--they are just a little slower to get going at first. 

So I continued my search. Some more great bean sprouts--i love the ones with the bean seed still clinging on to those first two leaves. It's so cool the way that looks. 

After about 3 nice seedlings, I found a gap---except closer inspection revealed that it wasn't. It was a sprout that was rather nice sized and healthy--but the ground around it had loosened. The seemingly healthy sprout, was now tipped over, right where someone or something could step on it.

I encouraged the bean: "I can get you fixed up. Just hang in there. I am going to give you some support."

And grabbed a handful of some nice soft soil and gently lifted the sprout to a more upright position, and added dirt around it. Not stopping until I could leave it alone--standing free and upright once more with the leaves reaching to the sun.

A few more nice sprouts, another naked one (I treated it the same way), and then a gap. This time there wasn't a naked sprout. It was a gap. A blank spot. But as I was reaching to dig a hole for my new bean seed I saw it...it was a black bean. Lying partially covered with soil. It was opening, and the roots were trying...but I knew there was no way it would survive out of the protection of the good soil. So I grabbed it and examined it--yes, it was healthy. It was growing. It just needed to be where it could thrive--so dug a hole, and put it in positioning it with the intended sprout heading the right direction. And covered it up gently. 

I admonished it to take care and use the nutrients around it to come out of it's shell and rise. "You have a whole purpose ahead of you, and I am giving you another chance. So get what you need now you are safe, and I will see you later."

At this point I looked back at my row. I saw the new holes for the new beans to fill in where other beans had either been eaten, or just wouldn't grow. I saw the big sprouts standing tall and ready to move forward in their growth. The little naked sprouts looking so bare, yet still standing tall. The sprout I had to prop up with supports. And the spot where I had just put a partially changed bean back in to do more growing.

*ding*

Faith lesson alert! It just jumped into my head.

We believers are like these beans. We are growing in God's garden, tenderly observed and tended by He and Jesus Christ the Son. Like these beans, we are in all different stages of our journey to maturity. 

The Hardy Sprouts

The sturdy, healthy sprouts are the ones who are strong in their faith and moving forward in their goal, pressing upwards reaching and turning their leaves to receive the light of God inside. Their foundation is firm and they stand ready for the next stage in their growth.

You will show me the path of life; In Your presence is fullness of joy; At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore. (Psalm 16:11)

The Naked Sprouts

The naked sprouts are those of us who have pushed through and risen to grow in the Lord. But for whatever reason, the environment we are living in has stripped us of our leaves used to help focus our attention on God. It probably was a trial of some sort that ripped away our best chance at growing strong in the Lord. But like the naked sprout, we still stand strong knowing that if we keep our eyes focused on our long term plan, those new leaves will grow and we can get back on track.
“These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

The Weakened Sprout

The weakened sprout leaning over in the dirt, are those of us, who though we have grown and changed according to God's plan, have become weakened. Maybe our support system wasn't as strong as we thought and the burden of what our role in life is...well it's weighing us down. If we stay down for too long, someone or something is going to crush us. But God send us support. He reaches down to help us stand and props us up with a support system--His word. Other believers. Friends. Family. He helps us to see we aren't alone and that sometimes we need additional help to reach our purpose.

They confronted me in the day of my calamity, But the LORD was my support. He also brought me out into a broad place; He delivered me because He delighted in me. 
(Psalm 18:18-19)

The Half Grown Bean

Many of us are like the half grown bean. Our battle is over almost before we get started. Somehow we managed to work ourselves out of the fertile soil that He planted us in, and we are trying to grow, yet are getting beaten down by the rain, wind, and hot sun of this world. Our sprout struggles to take root. Our intention is good, for we do want to grow, yet we sort of chose to go about it differently than God apparently desired. Left in this state--of trying to send enough roots down to get the nutrients we desperately need, but being too shallow for it to do any good--only God can help us. And help us He can. He picks us up, and plants us back in the fertile soil to give us a second chance at growing according to His plan for our life. 

Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, And uphold me by Your generous Spirit. (Psalm 51:10-12)
God is the heavenly loving Father who desires all of His children to come to the knowledge of His truth and learn about the plan He has for them. He plants His word in our hearts with the plan for it to grow and lead us to change. To become something more and rise above anything this world has to offer. But through our journey, we will probably be at all these different states of bean sprouts--sometimes we might bounce between them more than once. But as long as we keep pressing forward in faith, He will watch over us, keep our rows carefully tended with the help of His Son Christ Jesus, and provide us with everything we need to grow in faith, love, and the knowledge of His truth. He has a glorious plan for us. An ultimate harvest. 

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. (Philippians 1:6)

What kind of sprout are you?


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