June 29, 2017

The Lows and Highs of Gardening

Isaiah 65:17-25

They will plant vineyards and eat their fruit. . . . My chosen ones will long enjoy the work of their hands.

—  Isaiah 65:21-22

A few years ago, we had to leave for a ministry assignment before we were able to reap and enjoy the harvest from our garden. We left it for family and friends to enjoy. While we were happy to do this, we knew that the garden would be untended and some of the harvest would be left to rot. That left me feeling a bit hollow.

My experience cannot begin to compare with the bygone days recalled for God’s people by the prophet Isaiah. While there had been highs of tending gardens that yielded bountiful harvests, there had also been lows of being plundered by enemies—an aspect of the Lord’s judgment on his unfaithful people.

The promise of today’s verses is an aspect of the Lord’s comfort for his people. He yearns to restore them to safe homes and bountiful gardens—to bless the work of faithful servants. A more amazing reality is men­­tioned in the surrounding ­verses—a new heaven and a new earth. That might seem to be beyond our asking or imagining in this flawed world. Nonetheless, it is God’s promise pointing to life forever with him, when Christ comes again. Tending my garden and enjoying its harvest reminds and comforts me with this mindboggling reality that will come someday.

Are you looking forward to the time of Christ’s return?

Lord God, thank you for tending my life with your Word, Spirit, and blessings of all that is needed for this life and the life to come. In Jesus I pray. Amen.

About the author — Don Byker

Don Byker has been a pastor since 1984 in various churches and institutional settings. Don and his wife, Donna, are the parents of four adult children, two of whom are married. Donna and Don are also the glad grandparents of three granddaughters. Currently Don is serving in a rural church in Michigan full of gardeners.

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