BLOG: Spirit of expectation | Oklahoma Baptist Messenger
Typically, it only took us a few days to go from freezing, plant-damaging nighttime temperatures to the sweltering, humid heat of the 90s – not weeks, but days! People here, jokingly but not really jokingly, say, “This is Oklahoma. If you don’t like the weather, stay a few minutes and it will change. This year we experienced Winter, Tornado Season, Windy Season, Flood Season and Summer in a 24 hour period! Every year I hope for a real, beautiful spring, and every year I end up feeling a little cheated.
We are at the end of May, and despite the vagaries of the weather, our summer gardens are planted. The rising cost of food has been one of the drivers for the amount of plants we have planted, and now all the little plants emerging remind us of the work ahead. This is gardening! When you plant a seed, it is proof of the hope and expectation you have. No one plants a garden and then expects nothing to happen, because that would be madness and a waste of time. On the contrary, you plan carefully, plant diligently, and care lovingly with a spirit of expectation.
The goal is to produce food, and hopefully in large quantities. There’s nothing more satisfying than working hard all summer and heading into winter with a full freezer and a well-stocked pantry. I’ve seen the pictures, and you probably will too. Wooden shelves stocked with delicious homemade preserves, colorful jams and jellies, salsas and pickles, dried herbs and peppers, braided garlic, root vegetables and pumpkins. When we plant our garden, that’s what I’m working towards. Having all of that is my goal, and I wouldn’t want to go into the project with anything less than the full expectation of being able to achieve it.
However, planting the garden is only the first part. The second part is knowing what to do with everything as it begins to ripen and is ready to harvest. There is a learning curve. To plant a large garden and not have the skills or knowledge to store the food from it is to set yourself up for disappointment and waste. The counterpart of having a spirit of expectation is having faith in something that can make that expectation come true. Taking the time to learn food preservation techniques is necessary before the produce starts arriving.
Below are some common ways to keep garden produce fresh and websites that support learning. Each of them are skills that are perfected with practice and, today, more by desire than by need. Culturally speaking, most people don’t have to rely on these techniques for sustenance. Food is convenient and available all around us. However, for some, their decision is made. This is the way they prefer. It is their choice.
Choosing to grow a garden, choosing to learn food preservation techniques, and choosing to stock your home with your own food is a personal decision just like choosing to live for God. The Bible records some people who made the choice to live for God and how they did so. Culturally speaking, most people weren’t living for Him, but some had faith—a real spirit of expectation in what God could do for them and decided to put Him to the test.
Knowing he could be killed for it,”But Daniel he made his decision that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine he drank; he therefore asked the commander of the officials for permission not to defile himself” (Dan. 1:8).
Faced with the fiery furnace, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego said to King Nebuchadnezzar:But, even if he does not let you know, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image you have erected(Dan. 3:18).
WOW! These men had such a strong belief and expectation that God would save them that they literally put their lives on the line and you know what? He did!
On different levels, gardening and living for God both require faith. We can plan, plant, water and care, but only God can grow. We can learn, work, study and prepare, but only God can provide and protect. It never fails and is more than capable of meeting all of our expectations.
“This is why the Lord desires to be gracious to you, and this is why he waits on high to have mercy on you.(Isa 30:18).