“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
…a time to plant and a time to uproot.”
It’s that time of year. God’s Word says there is a time for everything, even uprooting! I have a vegetable garden and I love working in it. Planting in the spring is always fun. The garden is neat and tidy and the seedlings are in their pretty little rows. The seeds which I stomped into the ground are sprouting and showing potential.
However, since it is in late August, most of my plants have finished producing. The corn provided dozens of beautiful ears for my family’s enjoyment. The sweet potatoes were prolific. The cucumbers, cantaloupe, and zucchini were delicious but their vines are empty, their stalks dead.
Yet there are a few plants still giving off fresh fruit. The squash has nearly taken over and the tomatoes still show green and pink signs of promise. The peppers have retained their beautiful deep green leaves with new blossoms still forming right beside the green beans.
There is so much I learn when I’m out working in my garden . You probably know the hymn, “I come to the garden alone…and He walks with me and He talks with me.” I’m not sure that hymn was referring to a vegetable garden, but the Lord does walk and talk to me while I’m working in the soil of His beautiful earth.
As I was yanking old, dead plants out I started thinking about something I had learned from moving. It’s called letting go. You see last year, like this year, some of my plants were still producing vegetables, even until the end of October. By that time I was pretty much over gardening for the season, and life with school age children took the front seat and the garden took a lot of neglect. Usually I try to put my garden to bed for the winter so that when spring comes, it’s ready to plant. By pulling out the old plants and covering the beds with a winter crop or old leaves, the soil is ready for new plants come spring. This gives the soil a rest and the nutrients it needs to be restored.
I didn’t want to uproot last summer’s plants even though I knew they were going to die soon from the cold. They were still producing okra, green beans, and tomatoes. So I left everything and when the first frost came, they all died. Then the brown, dead plants just stayed there. And stayed there. And stayed there. All winter.
When spring came so did the weeds! Instead of having a nice patch of soil ready to till and plant, I had a new jungle! You see I didn’t want to let go, prepare and move ahead with my garden. Just like in life, sometimes we want to hang on to things longer than we’re supposed to, and we can’t move forward with God’s plan for our lives or our new growth without doing the hard work of cutting away or digging out dead roots.
My youngest son went to kindergarten this year. My heart felt bruised and torn as I walked out of his classroom. He was so ready for kindergarten and this new step in his life but I wasn’t yet. There was still fruit on the vine! Now I have a patch of empty, messy soil in the garden of my heart. But I know that God will tend it gently, nourish, restore it, and after winter has passed, a little seed is being made ready for that special place. Come spring I’ll see that beautiful green sprout appear.
Jesus said, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch that does not bear fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit He prunes so that it will be even more fruitful.” Whether you feel like you have been pruned or uprooted, remember your heavenly Father is the gardener. He makes everything beautiful in its time.
When I find myself in a situation where I am being pruned or uprooted it hurts. There is a real cutting or tearing away in our lives of something that was valuable. My comfort comes from taking God at His word. He is always with me, my comforter. He loves me and has plans to prosper me and not to harm me. His ways are higher than my ways, His thoughts higher than my thoughts. Jesus also said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine.”
Letting go is never easy, but if we trust God, remain in Christ and take Him for His word the new growth will come. There will be new blooms and yes, even fruit. Delaying the obvious and necessary because it’s painful will only hinder that new thing from happening. Letting go, allowing God to heal and restore our tender, bruised or broken hearts prepare us for the growth, blooms, and fruit that He is making ready for us in the next season of our lives.
To the One who said, “Behold I will do something new, now it will spring forth, will you not be aware of it?”