by: Julia Bettencourt
“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you,
saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil,
to give you an expected end. ” Jeremiah 29:11
When I was little my dad always planted a large garden. Sometimes I think he planted rows and rows of green beans and every other vegetable just to keep us kids occupied by picking, shelling, husking, and snapping. How could we ever get into trouble with all the chores we were required to do?
We really didn’t have much when I was little, but we always did have a roof over our heads and plenty of vegetables to eat. The brown paper grocery bags we’d fill shock full of freshly picked veggies and take to relatives, neighbors, friends, and people in our church were numerous. As I got a little older I never could figure out why my dad would have to plant a garden every year big enough to feed half of Ohio.
There was always something to pick. Rows and rows of somethings. I cherish now all those hours we’d sit snapping green beans with my grandma and mom, and ever who would happen by, but I couldn’t see the future or the need of garden chores then through all the corn silk I was tediously removing from mountains of ears of corn at the time.
Today I am thankful for all the hard work and the discipline I learned from all those chores my father made me do as a kid. Funny how most of those chores seemed to revolve around those big gardens we’d have every year. I’m not even sure that my dad knew he was teaching us kids so much from making us do the things that he did. I do know that my Heavenly Father knows what I’m learning from the garden He’s placed me in.
I’m still picking, shelling, husking, and snapping, only in different ways by the things that lay in my garden path. What is truly amazing is that up ahead are not all the cherished memories like I have of my childhood, my grandparents, and just all those memories of home. Up ahead there are treasures laid up for me “where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.” Matthew 6:20. Up ahead there are blessings that God has chosen to put there for me to have. Up ahead there are joys that await me from what my Heavenly Father planned for my life.
When I wake up on days and don’t feel like picking a row of beans or maybe don’t feel like picking those ripe tomatoes off the vine, I hope I’ll be sensitive to the fact that God has a purpose to my life and the situations that he has put there for me to go through. It might be something such as witnessing to someone God’s placed in my path or praying for a particular need, but I hope I’m disciplined enough to know that those chores God gives me need to be done.
It’s so exciting that my Heavenly Father knows today what I’ll need tomorrow. He not only knows what I’ll need tomorrow but also 20 years or 40 years ahead. I used to think of that verse in Matthew 6 as only something more current or more immediate. “…for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.” Matthew 6:8. I’ve come to realize that my Father knows not only what my immediate needs are but also what I’ll need even later in my earthly life. It just makes life so exciting to live knowing that each day is planned, prepared, and custom made just for me. Each thing that comes into my life God knows all about before I do.
To me, all this adds up to a wonderful Heavenly Father’s love. I know we all know in our hearts that God holds everything in the palm of His hand and He’s in control and has plans for us, but I don’t think we live like we believe it. Knowing that everything fits together in such a precise way should make us want to take each breath of life and live it more focused on God. I trust that I can do that. I trust I can take all the rows of beans life has to offer and do what is expected of me as a child of God. My Father does know best.
So, are you caught up with your chores?