March 4, 2020

Stepping in Time

Ryan Hale

Taken from recent newsletter sent out by the Sternberg family…

“He has made everything beautiful in it’s time…” Ecclesiastes 3:11

Have you ever noticed that God has created a rhythmic universe? The sun rises and sets each day, the tides follow the monthly pattern of the moon, and the earth revolves around the sun once a year. The weather becomes cold, then warmer, then hot, and finally…cold again. And in spring, trees give birth to a new set of foliage but drop them in the winter as if tired from a summer’s work.

These rhythms and patterns surround me in the garden. They are laws which I did not put in place, but which I must follow. For example, If I try, greedily, to get an early start on my broad beans and plant them when the weather is too hot, the plants fail and I have lost time, food and effort. Or, If I try and plant the beautiful, highly productive Zinnia too late, it hasn’t enough time or sunshine to produce. There’s a cadence to this; a tempo which cannot be broken.

These truths are manifest very clearly in the relational realm. If relationships are grown like oak trees, they are very slow…invisible even. But when the tree is harvested, we take pleasure in counting the rings showing the years required for it to reach its’ full level of strength. We then move it into our homes and enjoy its’ service for years to come. It is ready to bear the load of work.

I have been very aware of this pulse recently. The words of a close friend frequently run through my mind, “Clayton, I notice that God does things slowly…”

He’s right.

But…what does this have to do with sharing the gospel and gardening…?

Everything. Here are some examples.

We recently began an agriculture class in connection with the near-by school. It has been a pleasure to see refugees, immigrants, Italians, and teachers walk into the garden eager to participate in the program. But it took us more than two years to get there.

Last week, I was able to share the gospel on the streets with a homeless man completely in Italian (I think it even made sense…!). However, I wouldn’t have been able to do that before.

The ladies in our local church asked Christina to come along and reach out to prostitutes on the streets. She did. It was good. But the relationships between her and the ladies in the church were not in place a year ago. It took time.

The lesson in all of this is plain. God is working. He is causing all things to grow; all be they, from our perspective…slow. But slow is good. It means strong and steady, beautiful even.

Continue to take steps within the rhythm God has set for your life. Invest in that difficult relationship, knowing it will someday bear peaceful fruit. Be persistent in chipping away at your Godly goals. Don’t expect overnight success however. In the words of John Calvin, “As if God would curse His children with good fortune.”

We live in a rhythm. One that brings God glory. One that is beautiful… in its’ time.

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