13 Those on the rocky ground are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. Luke 8:13 (NIV)
Home gardeners know a lot about dirt. Here in El Cajon, the clay and decomposed granite that makes up the whole of the area, apart from the small San Diego river habitat, hardly supports anything more natively than grasses. But with a ton of fertilizer and compost, people have planted ornamental, pine, avocado and fruit trees. And like my neighbor, a lot of vegetables. My yard has seen few flowers, if any, on flowering shrubs and from bulbs in recent years. However, with a heavy dose of organic fertilizers, heavy soaking, and compost, it is blooming again. I had considered to get my dirt tested over the years to see what was lacking for nutrients. With drought for the last several years in southern California, I never bothered.
But it is the dirt of my soul that has been languishing without heavy spiritual nourishment during times of severe testing like these bowel obstruction episodes. I knew my hospitalization was part of “the Plan” last week: illness, surgery and sharing my faith with the nursing staff. Simultaneously, all sorts of trials have been coming my way. Coughing that threatens the staples holding my healing incision tight. All the stages I wrote about recently to get clear of the hospital. All the routine medical procedures.
Like my biblical hero, Job, I was able to manage for some time the hand I was dealt (Job 2:10). Within the last few hours however, I was shaking my virtual fist heavenward about these things. I developed a case of idiopathic (unknown trigger) angioedema which has swollen my upper lip since the early morning. This is in spite of all the National Institute of Health remedies (antihistamines) that I have used successfully in the past. It hinders, not stop, the next 12 hours or so of “elephant lip”.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4
I repented. Every example of the men God tested, Abraham, Israelites lead by Moses, Job, King David, the prophets, and Jesus’ Apostles, was for me to know, through them, that my faith in Him can be unshakeable, firm and resolute. Ordinary men. And like me wavered due to temporary circumstances. But they repented and went on to accomplish greater things as leaders, healers, and teachers. They spread the message of peace and Hope.
As long as I give my soul a heavy, constant flow of spiritual nutrients, my healing body the right sort of support, and my garden the same regular feeding, everything will be as God intended.
42 Then Job replied to the Lord:
2 “I know that you can do all things;
no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
things too wonderful for me to know.
4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
I will question you,
and you shall answer me.’
5 My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you.
6 Therefore I despise myself
and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42: 1 -6