I love gardening. You may not know it looking at me, but the act of nurturing a plant from seed to frutation is amazing. When I was growing up, I remember helping my mother out in her garden. I LOVED the dirt. But there was one thing that I realized early on – in the dirt were these annoying, and I mean ANNOYING, things called stones.
It was like the garden attracted these ridiculously huge stones! Every year before we planted the seeds, my mother would get our 30 year old gasoline tiller and start stirring up our yard. Every few seconds you would hear this huge, “Ping” that was the tell-tale sign that we hit the stones. What made things so annoying about these stones were that they were EXACTLY where we wished to plant our beautiful tomato vines and corn rows.
Now , don’t get me wrong. Sometimes the rocks are small enough I could run up to them and grab them with one hand. I would then toss it carelessly out of the way before moving on to the next one. But then I would come across these humongous stones (I mean, for a kinder-gardener) that required a God-earthquake to remove from the ground… Well I may have exaggerated there. But you get the point – removing them required a spectacular amount of effort and energy; something that I was incapable of producing with my child-sized hands.
But I would try anyways. Always, it seemed, my loving and gentle mother would stop the tiller and watch me struggle for a little bit. Finally, she would stroll over to the stone and carefully help me move the obstacle that she knew would be impossible for me to move on my own strength out of the garden.
I remember one day in particular when I was out there getting my farmers tan on, I asked mom this very innocent question: Mom, what if we found a stone that was as big as a truck?”
Her simple answer? She said, “Jared, then we would pray for God to send us something or someone to help us move it.”
How powerful those words are today, my mom probably will never understand. See, in life we are faced with problems that we cannot overcome with a simple hand from a friend or relying on our strength. Sometimes we face trials and tribulations that seem too big to overcome. But then we struggle. And we struggle. And we struggle. We fight and we push. But one thing we never do is ask for help.
See, prayer is kinda like when I was digging up those stones. The small ones are irritations in our lives. Like when you are in line for gas and then someone jumps in front of you. Small things that COULD lead to larger stones. But a quick prayer and your irritation is over. That stones is tossed carelessly away.
Prayer is sometimes like digging up stones. Sometimes a problem that we pray for will be larger and we may spend more time praying before we see results. Financial situations that cause us to question if we are going to make it to the next paycheck. But then God answers us and we seem to make it another month. Someone helps us carry those stones away.
Prayer is sometimes like digging up stones. Sometimes, though there are those car-sized stones. That year that your mother or husband battled cancer. You know, when the medical bills never seemed to go away. Trials like these require huge amount of prayer, not only from ourselves and our family, but our community and our church family.
One thing is for certain: when you start digging up a rock, you never know how big it will be. When you start praying for a situation in life, you might not know how long it will take, but you can know that God cares for you and wants you to seek Him through prayer and although his plan may not exactly match up with what we think God’s plan should be, it is always perfect and always incredible.
So for whatever trial or problem that you face for today, remember this. Jesus is dying to hear from us. It is our job to reach out to him for his support. You NEVER know what talking to him might do to you. A rock in your garden won’t be moved at all if you don’t dig it out. And if you don’t pray for problems in your life, you’ll never move them either.
“The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will answer my prayer.” Psalm 6:9 (NLT)