Our vegetable garden looks like a war zone. Except the “troops” that moved through it were of the four-legged kind. Bears, no doubt.
The fencing is mangled, crushed out of shape. Our sweet, Silver Queen corn? Totally gone. The stalks are all smashed flat to the ground. The ears? Stuffed into one or more bear tummies on the spot. The marauders bypassed the green beans, but circled around to devastate the yellow squash and zucchini, too. There was one lone squash there today, ready to harvest. And one cantaloupe melon. The rest? I can only imagine.
We have been gone for two whole weeks. We just got back today. Would being here have made a difference? I can’t help but believe the answer is YES. Had we seen or heard something, we could have defended the “fruit” of our hard labor.
But we weren’t here. So there was nothing — no one — guarding the land. Land we had — by Your Grace, Lord — so painstakingly turned from weeds into cultivated BOUNTY. Land we had left vulnerable to attack.
We’re sure missing that silver queen corn tonight. But there’s a much bigger lesson here… isn’t there, Lord?
“A man of noble birth went to a distant country to have himself appointed king and then to return. So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas. ‘Put this money to work [occupy, do business],’ he said, ‘until I come back.” (Luke 19:12-13)
“See, I have given you this land. Go in and take possession of the land the Lord swore He would give [you]…” (Deuteronomy 1:8)
You have taken us out of the kingdom of darkness, transferring — transforming — us into Your Kingdom of Light. You have called us to go forth — back into the darkness — to be Your witnesses. To testify about You at and near our homes, and to the ends of the earth. You have commissioned us to make disciples of all nations, teaching people everywhere to obey everything You have commanded.
And to do all this in the presence of a very real Adversary.
“Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that the family of believers throughout the world is undergoing the same kind of sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)
Life itself is a War Zone. As we advance — by Your Spirit, Lord — it is inevitable that we will gain (and regain) territory from the enemy. You have promised us success!
“I will build My Church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it.” (Matthew 16:18)
“And the God of all grace, who called you to His eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will Himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.” (1 Peter 5:10)
But when we gain (or regain) territory You have given to us, Lord, it is imperative that we occupy that territory. To leave it exposed, unguarded, is to leave it vulnerable to possible — perhap, inevitable — attack.
One step forward, three steps back.
This “territory” is not always geographic. It is also within us, as we make those moment-by-moment choices that reflect what — or who — we are truly worshipping. Worshipping with our temple (our body and the person we are inside that body), our time, our talent and/or our treasure.
“Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Proverbs 4:23)
“For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” (Matthew 6:21)
Thank You, Lord, for the delicious harvest You put into our tummies in recent months through this first-attempt vegetable garden! Thank You, especially, for the greater “feast” — the Life Lessons You are teaching me, Lord, so that I may be all the more effective in whatever “War Zone” I may encounter on any given day.
Gratefully growing in guarding the “gates” You have entrusted to me…