Everything in its time
Just inspecting my summer vege garden on the way back to the office after a coffee, I noted how it has gone from neat rows of small things to triffid-like tomato plants, abundant beans and an army of self-seeding potatoes everywhere. The broccoli is also sprouting handsomely. A garden is always a work in progress, but this year looks to be superior to the last one, particularly in the dwarf bean department. Some things seem to take ages to mature and then all come at once. The tomatoes seem pretty consistent in the manse garden, I think it's the sunny aspect and sheltering from the wind behind the fence. Life is a bit like that vege garden, some things are doing well and other things need a darn good prune or even ripping out by the roots for disposal. A bit of sustaining fertiliser is needed in certain areas, not to mention the water every living thing requires in some measure. Gardening, as with life, requires waiting, oh and praying. The transformation of babies into kids, teenagers and young adults can be alarming. We can see the growth but ultimately, we don't know what fruit will be produced yet. Later in life we face other challenges with health and life, not all of them minor or trifling problems. All the middle-aged runners I hang out with moan narcissistically about their injuries, but that's minor compared to some of life's curve balls. Only this week I've been discussing memory loss and tumours and all manner of other problems. Over Christmas some may be dealing with bereavement or other sobering news. So the garden of life is a mixture of order and chaos, and God is with us. Sometimes we struggle to see purpose. But let us reflect on the words of Jesus: 'I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.' (John 15: 1-4) God deals with us in the challenges of life, and always in the love we experience in the presence of Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Our creating, sustaining and redeeming God will tend us as we remain in the vine. All will be well.