Three years ago our son built us an indoor garden area. I had always wanted to garden year round, but in Colorado that is impossible outside. So he created three large raised beds, filled them with soil, and set up a watering system. My dream had come true!
Unfortunately, my enthusiasm far exceeded my knowledge of gardening. I planted my seeds and watered them faithfully. Before long some of them grew into beautiful plants. Some of them never germinated. I was happy with what did grow, though, and began making plans for how I would distribute all the food I was going to harvest. I decided that Michael and I wouldn't need all that much, so we could easily share our abundance with the rest of the family. I pictured overflowing bushel baskets being carted out the door by one person after another. I couldn't wait to see the harvest!
Weeks passed and many of the plants blossomed with all different colors of flowers. They only served to heighten my anticipation of the bountiful harvest that was coming. As the days went by, though, the blossoms fell from the plants and no vegetables grew. I was disappointed but thought that perhaps the plants had to mature a bit before they began producing. I waited for the next round of flowers and again dreamed of the bounty to come.
When those blossoms all fell off and no vegetables began to grow I decided it was time to get help. I went to a local gardening store and shared my problem with the owner. "How do you pollinate them indoors?," she asked. Pollinate? I thought that just happened naturally. "Well," she continued, "there are no bees or other insects indoors so there is no way for them to be pollinated. You will have to do it."
I returned home feeling like the dumbest farmer on the planet. I had failed Reproduction 101. I found a little makeup brush and the next time flowers appeared, I began to mix pollen from one to another. At that point I still didn't understand the how to distinguish between male and female blossoms, but the Lord gave me grace and things began to grow. From that starry-eyed beginning, I have produced just about enough food to feed Michael and myself if we are willing to fast a lot. But I am learning and the crops are growing and if I continue to win the battle with the aphids and spider mites, the harvest will continue to increase.
I have realized that marriage is much like a garden. We enter into it with starry-eyed wonder and have all kinds of plans and dreams that we can't wait to see happen. Yet, as a couple, we are much like I was with our garden. We really know very little about how marriage is designed and all that it takes to produce good fruit. Just like the seeds I planted, some of our plans don't germinate. They never come to life. Others begin to grow but we don't always know what it takes to keep them growing. And, as with the aphids and spider mites, there are obstacles and challenges that we face as a couple.
I think that is why God placed the first couple in a garden. He wanted them to learn His life-giving principles that would cause their marriage to grow and flourish. He wanted them to understand how marriage is to bring forth life, not only children, but spiritual life as well that can be shared with others. The dream I had of bushel baskets of harvest should be our vision for our marriage as well. Our marriage should produce so much life that we can't contain it all and we can give it away to others. I think some of the keys for that kind of marriage are found in the garden.
The Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. Then the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to tend and keep it. Genesis 2:8.15