Crazy Michigan weather! One day we are sweating the hot sun and turning on our air-conditioning and the next night we have to crank on the heat as a frost threatens and the house gets too cold. Despite the crazy yet typical teasing Michigan weather and frost threats, I was able to plant my impatiens and get a couple of tomato plants and a cucumber plant in the ground.
The back of my house faces east and gets only the morning sun. The front of my house presents two mighty oak trees (remember the acorns from last year?) that create plenty of shade. Vegetable plants need lots of sunshine which makes the only possible planting area to be my side yard. Between my property and the neighbors there is one long narrow garden bed about two feet wide with a chain link fence running along the property line. Say hello to my vegetable garden. It’s not much. But I try.
About a week or so ago I planted a cucumber plant that I purchased at a local nursery. I planted it late in the afternoon on a fairly cool day. I situated it close to the fence and put additional mesh fencing around it to act as a bunny barrier. We have too many bunnies in our neighborhood and they have quite the appetite for everything I try to plant and grow. Every spring, I refer to our battle to stop-the-bunnies-from-eating-my-stuff as ‘The Bunny Wars.’
First thing the next morning, I hurried out to check on my plants to see if they had lost the battle and become bunny food. I marveled at what I saw. Overnight, the cucumber had already reached out with one long strong tendril and grasped the chain link fence. “How did it do this so quickly?” I wondered. “How could it be so smart?” I pondered. As I thought more about it, I actually thought that this humble little cucumber plant was perhaps wiser than many people I know. Who’s the vegetable here? Here was one fragile young plant, suddenly planted in a new place with unknown threats and it knew to reach out and grab hold! The cucumber couldn’t know if it was going to be munched on by a rabbit, trampled by a dog, or torn from the ground by a storm. It sensed strength nearby and reached out in faith. It held on tight and was ready for whatever challenges its simple little vegetable life was going to throw its way.
We say we believe in God. Do we say it just in church on Sundays? Or just when we are having a tough time and suddenly need his strength?
I prefer to wake up each day and clasp God’s hand, just like that silly cucumber tendril clasped onto the chain link fence. His strong grasp gives me courage. And if my day is threatened by people who want to devour me, trod all over me, or if the harsh winds of life try to unearth me from where I stand, I am already strengthened by my grip on His hand. Too often people remember God only when things in life get tough. I think it’s important to hold on right from the beginning and walk with God on the good days and the bad. For those of you familiar with the old hymns – it brings to mind “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms.”
What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.
(Yeah I know – now you’re going to be singing it the rest of the day! And then there are those of you who also remember “The Old Rugged Cross:” ‘I will cling to the old rugged cross….’ They don’t write church songs the way they used to, do they?)
So if you are a Michigander who is trying to figure out what season it really is as you plant your gardens, keep in mind the wisdom of a plant that sends out a tendril to hold onto something strong.
You too can be a cucumber!
Deuteronomy 30:20 …that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.”