Archive for June 3rd, 2012

I decided to grow tomatoes this summer. So I visited the nursery, picked out six different varieties of tomatoes, and took them home to plant in their assigned pots. I gave them a drink of water, and dreamed of eating the fruit of my labor in fifty to sixty days.

At the first light of dawn each day I gave them another drink and inspected the amazing new growth that appeared overnight.

Until the morning the first worm appeared.

I plucked the yucky creature from the plant, squashed it, and mourned over the sculpted bite marks the varmint chiseled in the leaf.

My routine continued ‘til tiny green lumps replaced the yellow blossoms. Now the wait for my soon-to-be yummy tomatoes. I licked my lips, anticipating the taste of those home-grown delights.

Sunny days transformed the spheres from small to large and pale green. They hung heavy on their stalks and began to change color as they ripened. I counted the days and envisioned salads garnished with tomato wedges or sliced tomatoes sprinkled with fresh basil and goat cheese. My taste buds danced a jig of anticipation.

Then, the day before yesterday, Memorial Day, with a cup-of-coffee in hand, I walked into the garden just as the sun cleared the tree tops to give my treasures another drink and see to if this was the day.

I gasped. Horrified.

One enormous, lovely tomato hung sideways on its stem, half of it gaped open, the other half dripped its juice on the leaf below where hungry ants gobbled their breakfast. The villain—a mockingbird—sat in the tree above my head screeching at me for interrupting its breakfast, eyeing the labor of my days—intent on stealing what was mine.

I’d show him.

I plucked the maimed fruit and tossed it far away from the pots. That bird swooped in like it was the last particle of food on the planet. Through the day I peered from every window to be sure he contained himself to the cast-away fruit. But yesterday morning, he returned  before the sun rose and pecked at three more of my soon-to-be-delicious-darlings. This was war.

I ran—yes, ran—to the closet where the Christmas ornaments waited for next season, grabbed a box of shiny red balls, dug a roll of wire out of the drawer, and cut pieces to thread each scarlet sphere. With arms full of Christmas cheer, I made haste back to the garden and tied them onto the tomato cages, hoping to fool the bird with fake red circular objects.

And while I was gone, that bird pecked holes in the top of yet another ripening tomato.

These tomatoes would never make it to a salad. But the aroma of fried green tomatoes wafted through my senses. Ah ha! Even though the fruit was mangled, I could salvage the good portions and repurpose them into a delectable delight.

Just like my plan changed those damaged tomatoes into a scrumptious meal, God uses broken, battered, blemished people to accomplish His magnificent plan. He created us in His image and we are His treasures. Though we all bear the bruises of sin, He loves us and knows the plan He purposed for our lives.

But like that rascal mockingbird bent on gobbling up my tomatoes, Satan eyes us, lurking, waiting to subvert God’s plan and destroy the object of our Lord’s affection.

Jesus stands ready to answer our cries for help. He will rescue us, clean us up, and set us back on solid ground. We are the object of God’s love and He will transform us into the image of His Son. God’s love is wide and deep. No attack or scar of sin is beyond His mercy and grace to forgive and heal.

My Mama used to say, “You can’t stop the birds from flying over your head, but you can sure keep them from making a nest there.” My tomatoes had no defense in a battle against the birds—but we have a defense against Satan by placing our faith and trust in The Lord Jesus Christ.

It’s your choice. Run to Jesus when Satan lobs those flaming arrows or you can allow this enemy to build a nest in your mind, deceive your heart, and destroy your eternal soul.

I’m on my way to the garden again this morning to see if those red Christmas balls solved my bird problem. But first, I must spend time with my Lord for an attitude adjustment, in the event more fried green tomatoes are on the menu.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope” (NAS Jeremiah 29:11).  

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