I have weeds in places in my yard that used to not have them. What happened? I started watering new plants, and all of a sudden, weeds started growing.
What I really want to know, though, is where do tomato worms come from? I was pulling weeds under my tomato plants and barely bumped a green tomato, and it fell to the ground. I wasn’t too happy about that. I’m not sure why I looked at the stem, but maybe it was because it didn’t have one. It had a hole. In that hole was a worm. The worm had made several tunnels and was resting in the hole where the stem should have been. On closer inspection, what I expected to be a nice crop of tomatoes is turning into a popular fast food place for worms.
I bought my home five and a half years ago. Before I bought it, it was empty for two years. Before that, it appears nothing had been planted other than Bermuda grass and a few trees. The house is 77 years old. My tomato plants are against the garage, not against the fence that separates me from my neighbors. I think it is very safe to say that for at least 50 years, there haven’t been any tomatoes in that location. So how did I get tomato worms? Do they lie dormant in the soil for centuries, waiting for someone to plant tomatoes? Do they have little spies who detect ripening tomato plants and parachute them in? I really don’t get it.
Back to the weeds. I suppose it’s the same story as the worms, though they are similar to weeds growing in other places on my yard, so I’m going to guess they are either there by way of a root system or a seed. No big mystery there.
When I think about weeds, I often think about sin. I know it’s not a popular thing to talk about, but we all know what it is. Like weeds and tomato worms, it can pop up in our lives at times or in places where we don’t expect it. Maybe it’s been there all along waiting for the right conditions. I don’t know about you, but for me, it’s very tempting to let it go. I am usually pretty good about taking these things to Jesus and confessing them. Without grace, I’d be so lost. More than I’d like to admit, though, I don’t yank it out by the roots.
The same water that causes the weeds to grow makes it easier to pull them out by the root. Where there is water, there will be weeds. My cat Rufus lives outside in the summer by his own choice. When I come out to work in the yard, he thinks I am there to pay attention to him. I mention him, because as I get near the end of my work, I invite him onto my lap to massage his neck. He seems to enjoy hearing me sing, and one of my favorite songs is by David Crowder. How He Loves Us. I don’t know all the words, but there are some phrases I just sing over and over because Rufus doesn’t seem to care. “…Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree, bending beneath the weight of his grace and mercy. All of a sudden, I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory, and I realize just how beautiful you are and how great your affections are for me. Oh, how he loves us, oh, how he loves us, oh. We are his passion and he is our prize, drawn to redemption by the grace in his eyes. If love is an ocean, we’re all sinking…”
Perhaps that love is like the water. It goes down under the surface and brings to mind those things that don’t measure up. Until we focus on God’s love for us, and the redemption Jesus offers, we may not notice the dormant seeds and roots under the surface. They begin to thrive under those conditions, and sooner or later there is damage being done. That same love is also there to soften the ground to make it easier to yank out the sin by the root.
My yard and I, we have a lot in common.