Two long blister-filled days were spent removing noxious weeds and an unwanted honeysuckle tree -- not a bush, a full-grown tree. The rented tiller peeled back the ground and exposed the dark, rich earth. The garden was plotted out, and a variety of seeds and a starter plants were strategically placed and labeled. All of this work gave birth to glorious dreams of the overflowing abundant crop of carrots, corn, green beans and every type of lettuce that was sold on the seed display. All from the 15-by-15 square garden.
Then it rained.
Not "nice, we need this April shower that brings May flowers" rain. The skies burst into a full-blown Midwest typhoon. In a matter of 20 minutes, the backyard went from a sea of grass to a two-foot-deep pond. When the storm passed and the damaged could be surveyed, the house was fine, none of the kids' toys floated to oblivion and the cat learned it was better to come in when he first hears the rain instead of afterward. But the garden was another story.
The paths where the mulch once rested could no longer be distinguished between the rest of the garden. The plant starts were still there, but there was no way to tell if the seeds survived their scuba session.
A few warm sunshine-filled days passed, and there, barely breaking the surface, were hints of green. The seeds had survived. Some had traveled from where they started out, but they were there, growing.
A week or so following the downpour, I heard this verse read aloud and I could not help but think of this garden: "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord."
I have often set out on a path, mapped out a strategy, poured tons of energy and money into a certain direction only to be derailed by an unforeseen storm. More times than I can count I have wanted to give up and walk away defeated. Those were my plans, but God knows the plans he has for me. No matter the storm, he can bring forth life.
Rob Hurtgen is a husband, father, minister and writer. Read more from him at www.robhurtgen.wordpress.com.