TLC and the Impossible

Is anything too hard for the LORD? —Genesis 18:14 NIV

That horse manure sure did the job.

I canned fifteen quarts of fresh tomatoes. And there was still more on the porch and plants.

We hadn’t planned on having so many tomatoes—and I sure hadn’t planned on canning ever again. At this stage of the game, I wasn’t looking for more work. All we wanted was a small garden so we could enjoy a few fresh fruits and vegetables. 

So, in the spring we bought a half dozen tomato plants and a couple of pepper plants, put in a row of green beans, and scattered a few cucumber seeds. And, since our soil is absolutely horrible when it comes to supporting anything we sow, my DH (dear husband) dumped on a healthy heaping of horse manure.

Then our son gave us a dozen tomato plants and a half  dozen pepper plants—leftovers which had languished for at least a week, unwanted and uncared for, after he’d planted his garden. 

DH is not a man to waste anything. He plowed and harrowed another section in the yard, planted the donations, and fenced it in. He had such fun. I didn’t mind because never in my wildest dreams did I imagine those drooping, half-dead, pathetic plants would produce so much. It must have been the manure. Or the weather. Or luck. Or maybe it was the tender loving care DH lavished on them.

People can be like those dying, castoff tomato plants—without a hope until someone says, “I’m going to try to save you,” and then prepares a place where they can grow undisturbed, nourishes them, plucks the weeds, and lovingly cares for them. Sometimes our efforts make a difference. Sometimes they don’t. But I believe we are better for trying. And you never know when the turnaround will come.

I tend to cast people off as hopeless cases at times, too. Their needs are just too great, their problems too overwhelming. The answer is, in my eyes, impossible. 

But I forget. Our God is the God of the impossible. Is anything too hard for Him? He who spoke creation into being, whose mighty power calmed the winds and stilled the storm—and transformed life after life after life? He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. He who cares for the insignificant sparrow can take droopy, half-dead, castoff human beings, transplant them, and nurture them until they, too, produce a harvest. Look at Sarah and Abraham. Mary Magdalene. Zacchaeus. Matthew. Paul. 

My own eyes have seen the transformation of a man whom I thought was an impossible case. A castoff with more problems than I thought even prayer could handle. But God showed me different. Impossible? For God—nothing is impossible. 

It just goes to show—never count anyone (or anything) down and out—no matter what it appears like. You never know what a little TLC will do.

 Dear God, help me never to give up on anyone—ever. Amen.

 Read and reflect on Isaiah 55:8–13.

 From God, Me, and a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional reading to savor during your time with God, © 2017, Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Between Panic and Paradise

What is faith? It is the confident assurance that something we want is going to happen. It is the certainty that what we hope for is waiting for us, even though we cannot see it up ahead. —Hebrews 11:1 (TLB)

 On State Route 119 between Big Run and DuBois stands an interesting and somewhat amusing highway sign, giving the direction and mileage to some area towns: Panic, Desire, and Paradise. Yes, those are real names of real towns here in western Pennsylvania.

Pity the poor folks who have to say they live between Panic and Paradise. Wait. That would be all of us. 

On our journey from the womb to the tomb, much like the ancient Israelites’ 40-year trek through the wilderness, we travel through various states of panic and desire (and so much in between) to get to our Promised Land. We learn the rules of survival along the way—one of which, and the most important, is to carry a survival kit.

Included in this survival kit are four essential items.

First is a vision of your destination—Paradise, or Heaven, God’s home. In this goal-setting society in which we live, we’re advised to post a picture of what it is we want to achieve someplace where we’ll see it everyday. When we were still building our house—a 30-year-project—I taped picture of a log home inside a kitchen cupboard door. Keeping what we want in sight daily reaffirms the belief that we will eventually get there and helps us to trudge through the rough spots. Read Revelation 21 and 22 often to keep the vision of your destination fresh.

Another vital item your survival kit should carry is faith, which will fuel your faltering steps. As Corrie Ten Boom once said, “Faith is like radar that sees through the fog.” As defined by God’s Word, “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see” (Hebrews 11:1).

The third item is a map to guide you along the way. You already know the route: Jesus Road, for He said, “I am the way. … No one comes to the Father (and His home) except through Me” (John 14:6). But we can get confused when darkness descends, as it always will. God’s Word, as phrased in The Message, will “throw a beam on light” on the darkened path (Psalm 119:105).

The last item is identification. Even when I’m hiking, I carry my driver’s license in a pocket. Identification is proof that we are who we say we are. When you travel to a foreign country, you need proof of citizenship. On our journey to Paradise, we carry the citizenship papers Jesus provided—proof that we are citizens of Heaven (Philippians 3:20). We don’t belong to the world we’re traveling through. Like the heroes of faith listed in Hebrews 11, we’re “aliens and strangers on earth” (Hebrews 11:13).

As you travel from Panic to Paradise, clutching your survival kit, remember you don’t walk alone, for the King of your destination is travelling with you. (See Exodus 33:14; Hebrews 13:5; Matthew 28:20). 

As I trek through the wilderness of this world, Lord, remind me to use my survival kit.  Amen.

Read and reflect on Hebrews 11.

 From God, Me, & a Cup of Tea: 101 devotional readings to savor during your time with God © 2017 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Used with permission.