I have a new habit that I’ve only recently started. Early on Sunday mornings, I grab my cup of coffee and go outside to wander through my garden. Now some of you may be thinking, “I thought she wandered through her garden every day?” And you’d be right. The difference with my Sunday morning wander is that Sunday is the only day of the week I’ve decided there will be no yard work done; no veggies harvested, no weeds pulled or new plants dug into the ground. Sunday is my day to simply wander through the garden and soak up all the beauty and bounty I see.
As I wander, I’m reminded of an old gospel song that singer Mahalia Jackson made famous, and used to be sung at my grandparent’s little church when I was a kid, “I Come To The Garden Alone.” It is the perfect background song for my sunrise visit to my little piece of earth. Some of the lyrics are:
I come to the garden alone,
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear falling on my ear;
The Son of God discloses.
And He walks with me, and He talks with me,
And He tells me I am His own; and the joy we share as we tarry there;
None other has ever known.
My Sunday morning wander allows me the time to be quiet and pay attention to all the details of God’s creation. This morning, I spent some time checking out my veggie garden. I have quite a few different varieties of tomatoes that are happily growing away. I planted each one of them from seeds that are so small, I have to be careful to keep track of them so I don’t loose the little things before they get to grow into the big bushy plants they are today.
I got to thinking about those seeds, in fact I started thinking about all the seeds I’ve planted in my garden over the years. They all start out so small. A lot of them look exactly alike and if I didn’t write on a tag what they were I would not be able to tell exactly what I had planted until they burst from the ground into very distinct plants…the one’s God had planned for them to be.
Now, there are some exceptions to that for sure. For example, a marigold seed looks like a tiny badminton birdie and a calendula seed (also called a Pot Marigold) looks like a tiny dried up and curled up grub or worm. They are both in the sunflower family, and we all know that those seeds like even more different!
But tomato seeds and pepper seeds tend to look very much alike. Yet when they grow and produce fruit, its very easy to see how different they actually are. In fact, when you think about it, all plants have more in common than not in common. They start small, have to be planted and cared for; they have the opportunity to grow lush and healthy or stunted and unproductive. Kind of like people.
As I pondered these things, I stopped and looked at one of my new favorite tomato plants; I mean I really studied it. It’s called Sweet Geranium and it’s a determinate type of salad tomato that grows sweet and juicy. It’s called determinate because it will only grow a predetermined height and width, producing a predetermined amount of fruit. Once all the fruit is harvested, the plant is finished with what it was created for and will eventually die back and need to be removed. I was mesmerized by the way the little plant had grown such a thick and sturdy main stem. I tried to count all the tomatoes that are already on it just waiting to finish ripening, as well as all the new little flowers that will soon become fruit, but there were just too many to count! I was in awe of all that this one tiny seed had been able to accomplish in it’s short little life.
My conversation with God this morning went like this…
Me: Lord, just look at this plant! Can you believe it came from such a tiny seed? And now it looks like this and is going to provide food for me. That’s so amazing! How did you do that? How did you decide that it would start so small and grow in this exact way? How did you make so many different kinds of plants and yet they all start the same?
God: (quietly smiling and putting His arm on my shoulder) Yes, it’s pretty great isn’t it? I’m so glad you are appreciating all the thought that went into My creation. The how shouldn’t really matter as far as you’re concerned. Just know that I was thinking of You, and that really, you are my favorite creation!
Me: (smiling back, I lean into those incredibly loving arms and start humming that sweet old hymn as I continue on my way through the garden)
We are all different; I know that I’m different from you and you are different from me. We live in different places, have different life experiences, come from different backgrounds and sometimes we see the world differently. But in reality, we are all the same. God created you and He created me. He created this big wide world filled with the people and plants and animals that are also part of His creation. When I think about that, it makes it hard to not have a love and appreciation for all that I see. And it makes me smile to think that you and I are God’s favorite creation! Pretty awesome, don’t you think?
For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be. How precious to me are Your thoughts, God! How vast is the sum of them! Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand – when I awake, I am still with You. – Psalms 139: 13-18