My favorite color is green. I love it because it represents life, growth, and a never-ending cycle of new beginnings. Another little fact about me, I hate dusting. Who doesn’t, right? So when it came time to decorate my kitchen I wanted to have living things. Things I wouldn’t have to dust, and that would bring some beautiful living green into my kitchen space. Also, I haven’t been much good at growing things outdoors, so this is just my speed.
I have various living and useful plants growing in my kitchen. They grow and are used and then replaced. We’ve grown many varieties of sprouts and herbs, and most recently we’ve had a couple of heirloom cherry tomato plants. I love them! They don’t produce a ton of tomatoes, but the ones they do produce are so sweet and flavorful. We’ve kept them going for 5 months now, the longest I’ve been able to keep any of my indoor friends alive.
Lately though, there has been a sad little turn of events. One of the tomato plants has died. I don’t know why. All of it’s little green tomatoes are just falling off, it’s leaves are brittle and brown, and it just looks sad. Parts of the other tomato plant seem to be going down the same path, but the bulk of it is still going strong and producing tomatoes which turn more and more red each day. They are trying to keep going as long as they can.
The dead plant makes me sad. It is no longer green and there’s nothing I can do to save it. I have to just let it go. But I can’t remove it from it’s place with the other tomato plant. They are hydroponic and their roots have grown together. I couldn’t remove the dead plant without destroying the living one. If I cut it at the base just to get it out of my sight it will rot and kill the other plant. I just have to let it’s sad little plant body hang lifeless in my kitchen.
Yes, I know they are just plants. Don’t worry, I’ll be okay. But I did realize something today. We’ve all heard the parable of the wheat and the tares, and we’ve had lessons talking about how it represents these last days when there will be so much wickedness mixed in with the righteousness. I’m still not so sure it’s talking about culling the “bad” people, because God just doesn’t see us that way. I understand the analogy a little better now though, because seeing my plants today really drove it home for me. I don’t think I ever really understood the emotion of the story because I’ve never grown wheat. But I have grown tomatoes, and it can be emotional!
It’s emotional because I honestly love those plants. I loved watching them grow and produce, but I also just loved them for who they were. Green and living. Bringing joy just by being there. I’m sad to see one struggle. But I will not, I cannot, let the living plant die just because it’s hard to see the dead one. Some of the wilted leaves are spreading to the living plant, but it continues to fight. And so long as it does I will continue to fight for it.
Y’all know where I’m going with this. There is a reason the Lord lets that which doesn’t bring life mingle with that which does. It’s because he loves us. He will never give up on us. So long as there is room to repent and grow he will continue to water and provide nutrients. There is plenty of time to separate it all out later. For now, he will do nothing but that which will give us our best chances at becoming who we are meant to become. Sometimes we forget everything that goes on behind the scenes. My little tomato plants were my reminder today.
In ev’ry condition—in sickness, in health,
In poverty’s vale or abounding in wealth,
At home or abroad, on the land or the sea—
As thy days may demand, so thy succor shall be.
Fear not, I am with thee; oh, be not dismayed,
For I am thy God and will still give thee aid.
I’ll strengthen thee, help thee, and cause thee to stand
Upheld by my righteous, omnipotent hand.
When through the deep waters I call thee to go,
The rivers of sorrow shall not thee o’erflow,
For I will be with thee, thy troubles to bless,
And sanctify to thee thy deepest distress.
The soul that on Jesus hath leaned for repose
I will not, I cannot, desert to his foes;
That soul, though all hell should endeavor to shake,
I’ll never, no never, no never forsake!
(Hymn #85, How Firm a Foundation)