The rows of young corn plants resembled a military marching band with the tassels swaying in the late afternoon breeze. Rain was in the forecast. As I (Claudia) hurried to finish weeding, I could picture our family sitting around the table eating corn on the cob dripping with melted butter. Yum!
My vegetable garden was my pride and joy. For the past five years we had lived in an apartment in Vienna, Austria. So to have a yard again was great. But the real treat was having my very own vegetable garden, and soon corn from it would be on our table!
Then the storm came. High winds. Thunder. Lightening. Inches of rain. Early the next morning we surveyed the damage. The rows of corn were now in disarray. It looked like a herd of cattle had trampled through our garden.
“Dave, it’s just not fair!” I cried. “I worked so hard and now my corn is ruined.”
“Not to worry,” Dave said. “I’ll get some string and stakes and we’ll tie the plants back up.”
After hours of hard work, we survey our garden. Each corn plant was now a prisoner securely tied to a stake. About that time our neighbor, Carol, who was a seasoned gardener, came over, looked at our tied up corn plants and burst into laughter. “Why on earth did you do that?” she asked. “Don’t you know when the sun comes out, the warmth of the sun’s rays will cause the corn to straighten up?”
We looked at each other. Muddy, tired and exhausted, we realize we had worked in vain to do what nature would do on its own. We needed to work with nature—not help nature out. We really couldn’t control the weather, and we couldn’t control our corn plants. But God, who created nature, had it all under control.
How foolish we felt. Later, when we reflected on our gardening experiences, we realized that it’s just as foolish to try to manipulate each other. To get all tied up trying to fix and control everything about each other. Sometimes we need to let God’s sunlight do the correcting. Yes that was it. At that point we understood . . . our Heavenly Father is the gardener of our marriage. He sends the rain and the wind and He sends the sunshine. His healing power will make our relationship grow.
So what happened to our garden that year? In our attempt to save our corn, we unintentionally packed the soil and disturbed the plants. We had some corn, but the plants never quite recovered. The next year we saved our string and stakes and let the sun take care of things. We also tried to be more sensitive with each other. Like our garden, our relationship requires a lot of work and attention. We need to shower each other with support and encouragement. And when our marriage gets hit by the storms of life, we look to God and ask Him to send warm rays of healing. We want to keep cultivating our “marriage garden” so that in the future we can reap the fruit of a healthy relationship.
The garden is the place where we discover that faith is a work of art.