What a Garden Taught Me About Fear

Spiske

There is something so inviting about the feel of warm earth between your fingers. It tugs at our agrarian roots, reassuring us that the cycle of life continues – seed, seedling, plant, produce, seed.

 In Central Oregon, late May to early June are safe times to consider planting a garden. But, many veteran gardeners enter heated debates as to whether one should wait until the snow is off the peaks of the Black Butte Mountain. Something about the magic of that mountain gives protection for the gardens resting in its shadow.

This year, I felt brave, put spade to dirt, and against all reasonable advice planted – tomatoes, broccoli, bell peppers, squash… A banquet of vegetables and herbs.

I meticulously covered each raised bed and pot with warming cloth, confident that I had taken every precaution to assure gardening success, until…

The nightly news revealed a storm lingering off the coast, warm air meeting cold resulting in potential thunderstorms. Now the thing you may not know about Central Oregon is that thunderstorms are often accompanied by significant hailstorms. And when I say hail, I don’t mean a few little hailstones falling to the ground. I mean there is so much hail that it looks like it snowed. The ground is covered, the deck is covered, and yes – your raised bed garden is covered. But not just covered, it is destroyed! Pitted leaves, broken branches, young shoots shred. For a gardener, it is devastating – your heart sinks with the forecast.

Luckily, the storm was forecast for the following afternoon giving me enough time to insulate the garden against its formable enemy. I called a friend to borrow drop cloths, plastic sheets, or vinyl tablecloths- anything that could act as a barrier against the potential insult of frozen stones.

And then it happened, my mind raced to that place of looming disaster. The place where fear taps you on the shoulder and claims defeat. Instantly I was taken back to the last time a hailstorm destroyed my garden. I was 7-days post emergency surgery. It was a time of vulnerability, a place of weakness. And now I was reliving the situation, fear was winning.  

My mood shifted from peaceful joy to panic. What if the storm wipes out the garden? Why did I plant so early? How could I let this happen again?

That evening I planned and strategized how to protect my crops, how to defend against the looming storm.

The next morning brought with it a beautiful sunrise and a sweet revelation – what if the thing I was the most fearful of never happened? What if the storm passed, no hailstones – just a gentle rain that nourished the ground?

I took a deep breath, released the tension in my shoulders, and chuckled. The revelation brought an indescribable calm and then a somber thought. Even if the storm strikes, the garden is pelted, the loved one dies, the healing never comes, the career, reputation, possessions are all wiped away – God remains God.

He’s still in control.

He continues to love me.

My relationship with Him never changes.

Satan will lie to you, hoping you believe the story he has contrived from the memories of your past. The story is filled with half-truths, distortions of reality, and just enough facts to keep you engaged. But his goal is to keep you fearful, fretting that something may happen, anticipating the unknown. And as long as he can keep you focused on him, you lose sight of your Father.

Isaiah 43:1-3(a) tells us,

1But now, this is what the Lord says — he who created you, Jacob, he who formed you, Israel: “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…

New International Version (NIV)

A soft rain fell on and off throughout the day, the sun played hide-and-seek, and then grey clouds gave way to a beautiful blue sky. The storm adverted for today. My fear never recognized.

I don’t know what you are facing. But I am confident that God stands with you. Fear does not have to cripple you, it has no power over you. In fact, most of our fears will never be recognized. But when we do have to face them, remember we never face them alone.

God promises to:

Still the waters.

Extinguish the fire.

Never leave, forsake, or abandon you.

You can trust Him.

Be Blessed His BeLOVED,

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