Spring is finally here and I have been sowing seeds and potting on last year’s plants. I love to see the new green shoots appear from within the dark soil. I enjoy weeding and watering and tending my garden and I am grateful to God for allowing me this small pleasure in my life.
Every time I put seeds into fresh, new compost I think about the story in the Quran of two men who were given gardens where generous crops were produced on time and a river ran through them. One of the men boasted to the other that he was far more prosperous and commanded more respect of other people. He wronged his soul by saying that he did not think his luck would ever end. He also denied that the Hereafter would ever come and even if it did and he was returned to his Lord, he would be clever enough to possess an even better garden over there. His friend told him:
Chapter 18, verse 39-41
When you entered your garden you should have said, “This is what God has given me. No one possesses power except God." You may see that I possess less money and fewer children than you. “My Lord may grant me better than your garden. He may send a violent storm from the sky that wipes out your garden leaving it completely barren. Or its water may sink deeper, out of your reach.”
Sure enough God wipes out the crops in the boastful man’s garden leaving him sorrowful and regretful of setting up his property as a god, an idol, besides God. No force on Earth could have helped him against God because He is the true Lord and Master over everything on and in the earth.
It is God who illuminates the sun and sends down the rain to produce the plants from the soil until the crops are harvested or they turns to hay which blows away in the wind (18:45). Nothing grows on or in the earth without God’s knowledge; God only has to say “Be.” And it is. It is God who sends the angels to blow the rain clouds our way. It is God who sends the insects as pollinators for the plants. It is God who creates and ends the cycle of life. For everything returns to the earth.
Without the sunshine, the rain, the soil and the seeds and insects I could not have a garden and the luxury of growing my own food. So with each little seed that I pop into the soil I say to God, “Thank you and please let it grow.” For I know, with certainty, that without God’s grace and gift of life, nothing will grow in my garden and there will be nothing to eat this summer. As soon as I see those green pea shoots or the tiny purple leaves of the basil plants popping up into the light, I again say “Thank you God and please don’t let me over water them this year!”