Not long ago, my life seemed like dad’s garden.
In dad’s carefully tended garden, some potato scraps sprouted and reproduced furiously until finally, after a couple months’ vigorous activity, the growth died, signaling the coming of harvest time. The family gathered around eagerly as dad reached into the dirt to pull out his potatoes. Based on what we saw above the surface, we fully expected a bumper crop. We could almost taste them.
Instead, Dad dug up about six pea-sized potatoes. That was it for the bumper crop! We shrugged off our disappointment with the consoling thought that potatoes are cheap and readily available at the grocery store.
At the time I had just graduated with my master’s in Journalism and been offered a job as editor of an upstart magazine. It seemed miraculous how everything had fallen in place. I felt exactly right for the job. I was looking forward to working with other writers, to “finding my voice,” and to the sizable monthly paychecks.
What I got instead was a handful of pea-sized potatoes. The economy fell, the magazine lost its funding, everyone attached to the project was out of work. I got two hundred and sixty dollars from what should have been a steady job for the next few years.
But God is not cruel: He doesn’t take us through these times in vain. He forewarns us that our lives will not be easy if we follow Him, but that He will provide us with the strength, courage, and joy that we need to make it through.
“Christ did not say, ‘If anyone will come after me, let him enjoy himself, let him be gorgeously dressed, let him be drunk with delight. No, Jesus said, ‘If anyone will come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.'” — Archbishop Francois Fenelon, 17th Century
Do I wish I could’ve pushed the “easy button” and immediately walked into my dream job? You betcha. Am I glad that God took me the long way around and “seasoned” me with little trials and joys on the journey? A less enthusiastic, but no less heartfelt, Yes. There is deep satisfaction in following God, no matter how tortuous the path.