The rest of Canada has had an exceptionally hot summer this year. However, on Vancouver Island, where we pride ourselves on our lush gardens, the weather has been miserable. Thus it is that, wherever two or three gardeners are gathered together in my neighbourhood, the talk inevitable turns to the disappointing yields from orchard and vegetable bed. The litany of complaint is loud and long. Wet spring, cold July, no bees, marauding deer, slugs, no sun. I complain with the best of them, often leading the chorus. Here it is, the end of summer and my tomatoes are still green. The Fall Fair last weekend had only four ripe pumpkins.
In previous years, my plum tree has yielded bushels of fruit. This year, I've got a niggardly offering that won't full one ice cream bucket. I was ready to write off the garden as a complete failure, and then I found the blackberries.
The bushes are laden, the berries sweet and juicy and huge! Best of all they require little effort to grow and maintain.
I can't help considering the blackberry bushes along the roadsides in my part of the world as an example of God's grace. We label them "noxious weed." We cut them down, plough them under, trample them over. We strip them of fruit and hack at the vines, then turn our backs and ignore them. Yet, year after year, the blackberries shower the ungrateful with abundance, fruit fit for kings, there for the taking, no questions asked, no one excluded.
Now, when I'm tempted to complain about the failures in my garden, I remember Paul's message to the Thessalonians, In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.
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