I have always loved digging in the dirt. Growing up, my dad almost always had a garden of some kind. When we lived in Nashville, we had a barn and a greenhouse in our backyard (and a train track, by the way). I remember the rows of seedlings he would have on the tables in the greenhouse. I remember the smells, the light flooding through the ceiling, and the warmth.
And although I don’t have a greenhouse, I do have a yard that I enjoy digging around in. I plant herbs, peppers, and tomatoes nearly every spring for a plentiful harvest through the fall.
But last year, I didn’t plant anything. I was mentally and physically exhausted and didn’t have it in me to plan the dang thing. So my beautiful raised garden bed that Jeff and I built together sat empty.
Oh, but it actually didn’t.
Because, against all odds, I had a tomato plant sprouting up. Eventually, it began to bear fruit…. And a lot of it. Without the care of water, pruning, fertilizing, or tending to, it kept going. It kept bearing. It kept coming.
And I remember being so shocked that this plant, which I didn’t even care for, was bearing more fruit than the ones I did care for the year before.
So I asked myself, “What’s the lesson in this?”
If we dig in during winter seasons, we will reap much fruit in the right season.
Somehow, the remnants of my original tomato plant remained in the soil. (Now, this is probably not a great thing on my part and only means I didn’t clean out the bed properly, but let’s forget that fact for the purpose of this analogy). And these remnants dug in.
God provided nourishment when I wasn’t looking, exactly what it needed to remain during winter. Unseen. Unkept. Underground. And then God provided nourishment during the heat of the summer, precisely what it needed to thrive and bear much fruit, day after day after day.
This little remnant of a tomato plant survived winter's ice storms. The lack of nourishment from its owner. The lack of care and concern. It survived. And not only did it survive, it then thrived.
I wonder what winter season you’re in right now. I wonder if you, too, need to go underground and dig in with the Lord. Unseen. Undistracted by the birds in the air and the fruit bearing of other trees. I wonder if these unseen moments of digging in with the Lord during the winter will be just the thing that will enable you to thrive during the next season God brings you into.
I know that there isn’t much beauty in the winter. I know it’s easy to look around and only see barren trees and dead plants - relationships that have ended, disappointments that surround you, goals left unmet. I know it’s even easier to long for your fruitful season. But what if the magic happens in winter? Winter is when God prepares us and does the deep heart work that is necessary to thrive in the future, bearing much fruit for His glory and our good.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
Don’t give up. Dig in.