Several goof-ups in my garden this season would otherwise upset and discourage me. Instead, I am seeing Bible humor! Why? Because in each case, a verse from God’s Word came instantly to mind in a flourish of subtle tease, much like the time I was stung by paper wasps the very week of working on the “Pest & Pestilence” devotions in God’s Word for Gardeners Bible.
It is a Living Word, meaning the Bible’s words can be as relevant, timely, interactive, and descriptive of circumstance today as when they were captured on parchments thousands of years ago. Furthermore, we can come to expect exuberance as we live committed to God, that His Words might bring sweet relief in their relevance and application, and even a chuckle or two. The LORD does not intend for us to perish in our problems, but to find our way to the light—to light-heartedness, bearing up under pressures.
If your revelation hadn’t delighted me so, I would have given up when the hard times came.
Psalm 119:92 The Message
Each of the following failures, a three-part mini-drama of dry wit in a well-watered garden, has reminded me of particular verses of Scripture. Even as my mistakes and calamity confronted me, the connection to age-old Words washed over me an ability to take care of matters without despair, and with delight.
The Green and the Dry
Not two weeks after taking this snap-shot of the luxuriant green leaves of our bay laurel for A Lenten Look at Trees, the tree dried up and died! I could not believe my eyes, and have left the dry tree staked in the middle of the garden all summer because I am still shocked.
For if people do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?
Luke 23:31 NIV
Considering the words of Jesus that resonate with the symbolism of the green bay tree, it is astounding that this little three year old tree just dried up! Particularly ironic, considering it was probably over-watering that killed it. I did not choose a good location for the tree, showered with sprinklers and plentiful rains which likely suffocated its roots.
Though I am sad to lose one of my favorite projects, planting a bay laurel, gloriously I will remember that the dry tree resembles the death we do not face, because our Jesus has triumphed over evil, the victory Psalm 37 promised.
I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree… But the transgressors shall be destroyed together: the end of the wicked shall be cut off.
Psalm 37:35, 38 KJV
Then the saying will come true: Death swallowed by triumphant Life! Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?… in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three—sin, guilt, death—are gone, the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!
1 Corinthians 15:56-57 The Message
Good news: Our little sage plant is thriving, recovered from life as a troubled sprig due to a severe freeze last January.
Bad news: It’s location under a tree branch, a perfect perch for backyard birds, has left this little plant covered in daily bird droppings. Outrageously unappetizing!
Many doves visit our garden, perhaps the culprits of little sage’s bird-poop bath. When I move this tasty herb in the fall, what do you suppose I will plant here instead—Bible gardeners, can you guess? Star-of-Bethlehem, the beautiful, petite bulb-yielding-blossoms which are also known as “dove’s dung,” mentioned as a measure of the distressingly inflated economy in 2 Kings:
And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass’s head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove’s dung for five pieces of silver.
2 Kings 6:25 KJV
I have never quite recovered from disgust that a dainty, lovely flower could be named for ornithological excrement. However, I am humored to plant the bulbs and giggle at the ancient story memorialized in our garden.
Bee Always on Watch
Be always on the watch
Luke 21:36 NIV
…for bees, that is! While conservationists and national gardening leaders are buzzing with promotion for planting pollinator gardens (this blog included!), bee-ware! The first step in making a garden home for bees is making sure your home is secure against their hive-making habits. See our new friend, Jared Davis the Beekeeper, who was summoned to a live removal of a honeybee hive in our house.
As they say, “watch what you wish for;” I have long hoped to taste the honey made from bees foraging on hyssop. Surprise! Davis was able to rescue delicious honey from our hive, but at considerable price. Good bee practices begin with caulking all the cracks in your home’s exterior sheathing, especially where wood and brick or stone come together, and along roof soffits. The smallest cracks can become entry points for bees to house themselves in the attic or interstitial space of your home.
To see humor in applying God’s Word or to say God has a sense of humor is not to renounce the seriousness of His message or intent.
“Because you’re not yet taking God seriously,” said Jesus. “The simple truth is that if you had a mere kernel of faith, a poppy seed, say, you would tell this mountain, ‘Move!’ and it would move. There is nothing you wouldn’t be able to tackle.”
Matthew 17:20 The Message
Rather it is to see the sophisticated literary layers and paradox of His Wordthat create awe and delight, in a lose-your-life-to-find-it, beauty-from-ashes, grace-filled invitation. To be wholeheartedly committed to knowing God’s Word is to be forever captivated by the impossibilities and twists of fate that fill a faithful life with amusement and amazement.
At least that is this garden’s story.
Photo Credits: ©2017 Shelley S. Cramm