It’s been a bumper harvest in the Nether House garden this summer. I continue to harvest more fruit and vegetables than I really know what to do with. The kids are fed up with ‘gifts’ of courgettes, rhubarb, broccoli, strawberries and apples; the freezer is stocked and still there is more. My brother in law tells me his harvest of wheat and barley is the best he has ever known. Last week a farmer in Lincolnshire registered a world record yield of wheat. All this because we have had what we might term a Goldilocks growing season, not too wet, not too dry, not too cold, not too hot, but just right. There has been enough moisture for crops to fulfil their potential and enough sunshine to ripen them and allow harvesting to be completed.
If you are a farmer or gardener you remember years like this. Not only do you bask in the warm glow of success but you are also a little humbled that ultimately the conditions required for a bumper harvest are beyond your control. Another reason we remember years like this is that they are few and far between. For every Goldilocks season there is one that was a washout and another that was too dry (well, not too many dry ones to be honest!). A good farmer or gardener recognises and understands this. She or he tries to be prepared for anything, to anticipate what might happen and to respond to the prevailing conditions and in doing so to make the very best of each season.
We would all like to live a Goldilocks life where everything is ‘just right’. But life is rarely like that. There are times and seasons of our lives where everything just falls into place, where problems are easily solved and everyone is happy. But for every Goldilocks season of life there are other seasons where everything is against us, when life is a bit of a mess and when God seems far, far away. I was reminded the other day of the words of Job in the Old Testament facing the loss of everything he had, and in the anguish of grief, he falls to the ground and exclaims, “The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord!”
What a great and inspiring example to us is the story of Job. Job doesn’t minimise his own anguish or let God off the hook, but he discovers in a spirit of worship, praise and thankfulness the courage and strength to come through the storm and move on in faith to the next season of his life safe in the knowledge that it is God who holds the future. And the next season may well be a Goldilocks season.
Grace and Peace