Terrible Tomatoes

TerribleTomatoSmallWe’re new to Florida gardening. Who knew you couldn’t grow tomatoes in Florida from April through September like you do up north? It’s the rainy season, so I wouldn’t have to water them, and it’s very warm and sunny most of the time (unless it’s raining). We planted a couple of tomato plants in late spring and a month later they were spindly, nearly leafless plants barely holding on to life.

About the same time I was reading the Q&A feature in a Florida gardening magazine. Some person, also new to Florida gardening, had asked the same question I had on my mind, why were our tomatoes dying? The answer in the Q&A column was that you can’t grow tomatoes in the heat of the Floridian summer. You need to plant them in February. Of course that wouldn’t work up north, they’d freeze in two minutes, but here in Florida it’s the best time to plant tomatoes.

The failed Floridian gardening experience was a reminder that there’s a time for everything. We can do the right thing at the wrong time, which often isn’t any better than doing the wrong thing at any time.

God, in His infinite wisdom, as the Grand Gardener, has perfect timing; we, on the other hand, don’t. This is why God often uses a third option in answering our prayers other than “yes” or “no.” He sometimes says, “wait.” In our impatience we want our requests granted now but it’s another instance in which God wants us to yield our will to His. We’re called upon to exercise the faith of waiting.

You and I are also called upon to use good timing in our relating to each other. We can do the right thing at the wrong time. We may be right in our need to have an honest conversation with someone but if we don’t do the work of determining the best time to bring up the subject we’ll sabotage our good intentions. Even saying something nice or doing something good for someone can be more effective if our timing is good. Empathy means, in part, to understand what would be the best time to speak or act.

I found out the hard way that good timing is key to fruitful gardening. Living a fruitful, productive life also requires good timing, yielding to God’s good timing and expressing good timing in our relationship with others.

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” (Ecclesiates 3:11)

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