Planting and Patience
After I wrote this, but before Monday when I normally post to the blog, Houston experienced an historic flood. This week has been filled with checking on, helping and praying for people in our lives and our city who have lost cars, property and more due to the flood. As a result, this post was delayed to the end of the week. I hope it will still challenge and encourage you, and I hope you will join me in praying for the people of Houston and surrounding areas. -Brandon
Moving from Northern Idaho to Houston, Texas has been an incredible experience. I often tell people one of the greatest experiences from the move is nothing is the same. Weather, culture, landscape and countless other things are different. In some ways the transition has been easier because you just cannot compare the two regions.
Weather is one of the major differences and specifically the seasons. In North Idaho you have 4 distinct seasons. In Houston you have two; OMG it’s hot and the other six months when you are thankful it’s not those months. Since moving here I have wanted to dabble with gardening. I love to garden and since there is little to no winter here, I have thought it would be fun to try. In North Idaho, Amber and I had a huge garden. When the spring approached on the calendar we would get excited to start planting. I will never forget those warm spring days that teased you into planting early and getting a jump on your neighbor.
I had to learn the hard way. The more experienced gardeners would tell you “never plant before Mother’s Day.” Well, one year I remember the weather in April was incredible, 75 degree days and not a cloud in sight. People flooded into the local gardening stores and I was right with them. My impatience button was pushed and I poured over all the fresh starts just itching to be put in my glorious garden. I still remember both my mother and Grandfather warning me, but I thought there is no way it will frost now. “Ahh, they both just worry too much,” I thought.
Winter was gone and I think I even got a sunburn prepping the soil. Oh how the trap was set. The back bed of my truck was loaded with tomato, zucchini, lettuce and acorn squash plants and gardening soil. My impatience pushed me all day to get them planted, and before the sun went down I was able to stand back and admire my garden, now on it’s way to providing some amazing produce.
And then…the next day came.
I woke up and looked outside to see frost on the window of my pick up truck and I almost threw up. Temperatures had dropped to 29 degrees that night. I ran to our back patio door to examine the carnage. Every plant was already wilted, as if some garden reaper had gone through and cast a death spell over each plant. The poor tomato plants were already black and the zucchini were not far behind. It was an epic failure and I was paying the stupid tax.
I think of that day and still recoil at the damage my impatience caused. Discipleship is similar to gardening. We can spend years investing in relationships that God puts in our path and expect that people will grow at a certain rate. Sometimes we try to force truth (or plant) when someone is not ready. I can spoil a great deal of spiritual growth by my own impatience. In my own spiritual growth, I often want to learn or grow in certain areas and forget that it just takes time. Sometimes God just wants me to learn the discipline of waiting on him. It takes courage to wait. The last few weeks I have been reading a great book on discipleship, Conversion and Discipleship by Bill Hull. I love his quote regarding making disciples.
It takes the dedication of a solider, discipline of an athlete and patience of a farmer.
Oh, how true that is. This week, I pray that you will wait on God and exhibit the discipline it takes to cultivate healthy spiritual growth.