About two weeks ago, we were finally able to get the exterior grading done around the building. Thereafter, we dutifully seeded the area with “Kentucky 31 Fescue” and overlaid it with wheat straw. It would have been nice if all was well that ended well. But alas, this was not to be.
Only this time, we could not blame the trouble on a shortage of building materials and/or labor brought about by the recent pandemic. This time, it would be the weather.
We would like to have proceeded with the grading process a couple of months ago; but at the time we were getting so much rain that the dirt in the ground was just too wet to grade properly. It was frustrating to wait week after week for the spring rains to lessen. Only after they did could we finally proceed.
And yet, after waiting for mid-summer so that the weather would allow for the dirt to dry out sufficiently enough that it could be shaped and molded, we now find that we have a whole new problem. It turns out that the same heat and lack of rain that is good for getting the dirt malleable enough to work is also bad for the newly sewn and straw covered seed.
The result is that we have now had to work overtime dragging water hoses around to various places surrounding the building in order to pump water to portable sprinklers – something we would not have had to do in the spring of the year. But these sprinklers are now indispensable, as they apply life-giving water to the otherwise sun-blistered seed.
Granted, these sprinklers are a poor substitute for actual rainfall. Mother Nature can easily pull off in the rare ten to fifteen minute downpour what it takes them more than an hour or two to accomplish artificially. But without them, as any landscaper knows, the seeds would remain dormant, and the grass would have no chance at life. Conversely, with them, the abundant sunshine pouring down now sparks life and allows it to flourish.
The result is that while we have spent a very taxing couple of weeks laboring away at the daily watering process, we finally have a good head start at a graded green patch of grass radiating away from the building in all directions. Even as I speak, the area now sports what amounts to a little “five-o’clock shadow” of green shoots that have emerged. And while these are still hard to see when looking down on them from a vertical perspective, they are quite visible when viewed from a horizontal perspective just a few feet away.
For my part, I did not grow up as the son of a landscaper; but I did grow up as the son of a farmer. And this whole process has reminded me of the cycles of the seasons, along with their resultant weather patterns, and the impact all of this combined had on the growing of crops. Ultimately, farming was always a humbling experience in that people could cultivate land and plant crops as hard as they might, but at the end of the day, they had no control over the weather or the harvest.
The Lord alone controls the rain, as He does the clouds, the wind, the sunshine, the temperature, and all other aspects of the weather. And these things, or course, ultimately determine the success of the crop. Our forebears, it seems, understood all of this, and accepted it.
Today, however, we tend to assume that we have mastered nature and subdued her, and therefore somehow control our own destinies. As we reside in our climate controlled homes largely shielded from the vagaries of the weather, we find it all too easy to forget that these are really only temporary, artificial environments.
Besides, mastering comparatively small enclosed areas is a far cry from controlling all outdoors. And if nothing else, the events of last two couple of months have served to remind me of just how impotent we all truly are in that regard.
But maybe that is not such a bad thing. Maybe it is fitting for each of us to be reminded periodically that we are ultimately not in control of what all happens in life. Like a large multi-vitamin pill, this truth may be a bit hard to swallow; but it is clearly to our benefit for us to embrace! For in recognizing that we are not always in control ultimately drives us to consider Who truly is!
Of course, the good news is that we can in fact know the very One Who does control the weather. We find Him identified in Mark 4:35-41 as He demonstrates His power to still storms. And He is also the One Who controls the growth of the grass in the field. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus affirmed this in the midst of stressing a far greater truth. In Matthew 6:25-34, He spoke of this saying:
25Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26Look at the birds of the air: They do not sow or reap or gather into barns—and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
28And why do you worry about clothes? Consider how the lilies of the field grow: They do not labor or spin. 29Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his glory was adorned like one of these. 30If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the furnace, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?
31Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32For the Gentiles strive after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.
34Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.
These days, my wife I do what we can to improve and enhance both our own lives and the lives of those we know and love. But we do so fully cognizant of the fact that our efforts are but little without the assistance of the loving hands of providence. In short, we have grown a little wiser as we have grown a little fescue.
Thus, along with the apostle Paul, our testimony is that we may have planted and we watered, but God alone has caused the growth. As Paul testifies in 1 Corinthians 3:7, “So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.”
We gladly choose to acknowledge the goodness of a loving Heavenly Father, and all the help that derives from this in our lives. May God be glorified - both through His acts and through our recognition of and testimony about them!