by Christine Berglund

It is barely the beginning of summer, and I have been rearranging a few of the beds to improve the overall appearance of the back yard throughout the seasons. A smarter gardener would have had things mapped out well before now.

One plan that we had made many months ago was thwarted by the reality of the sun’s summer zenith.

There was an odd-shaped bare spot on one side of the patio where we had originally intended to continue the paving around the central tree ring, rather than leaving it bordered by our homemade concrete pavers on only two sides. (See? Plans were changed at least once.)

By the time we had the bed dug up and the soil improved, it was the summer solstice. As it was a very hot day, I suggested that we wait until the tree was shading that patch of ground, and then we could work in relative comfort as we did the planting.

Oh, I had great plans and had collected most of the new residents; hostas, heucheras, a hydrangea, and a darling little Japanese painted fern. I was breathless with anticipation!

Imagine my dismay when we resumed our work at 6 p.m. only to find the tree’s shade was now on the patio, not on the northernmost bed that we had worked so hard to prepare.

Of course, I should have remembered that the sun would travel farther north on its summer route. It was beating down in full force on the newly turned soil.

To say it more accurately, as our planet makes its yearly journey around the sun, and the North pole is slanted toward that ball of heat, of course, we would get the sun’s rays at a higher and closer angle.

And so, plans were changed to include more sun-loving plants.

I would hope that when I make plans for my life’s work, that I can be as flexible to changing direction as I am in my garden. I am amazed when I look back at what I had envisioned myself accomplishing and comparing it to what actually happened.

Some of these changes of plans have turned out to be surprisingly good.

Saul of Tarsus had planned to please God by persecuting Jesus and His church. God had different plans for him.

Conversely, God may have had plans for Samson to be a great leader, but the poor guy kept getting sidetracked by women. Samson ended up killing more Philistines in his tragic death than in his short life. God turned Samson’s selfish intentions into a victory for the Israelites against their oppressors.

Our loving Father will sometimes defeat or change our inadequate plans, but sometimes not. It is a popular saying that “When one door closes another one opens.”

However, that’s not always the case. We often have to open that same door again and again. That’s how doors work.

We certainly cannot create a lovely garden, nor live a fulfilling life, without making and carrying out some kind of plan, and setting some worthy goals.

“But the noble man devises noble plans;
And by noble plans he stands” (Isaiah 32:8, NASB).

The important thing to keep in mind when faced with a lack of opportunity or plans that are difficult to carry out, is that we should be actively praying for God’s will to be done, as Jesus demonstrated in what we call the Lord’s Prayer and his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane.

“There are many plans in a person’s mind, but it is the counsel of the Lord which will stand” (Proverbs 19:21, NET).

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