“The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
I know we’ve all heard this a million times.
Our husband (or kids or friends or family or boss or – fill in the blank!) doesn’t appreciate us the way we think they should. Especially not the way THAT woman’s does.
Our home is too small, or too far from town, or too close to the street, or doesn’t have enough bathrooms or a big enough yard. THAT house over THERE would be PERFECT!
We’re unhappy in our job and we think it would be better if we quit and went to work for another company. In another industry. In another town. In another state. In another country. Anywhere but HERE.
We’re miserable HERE, and it MUST be better THERE.
I once had a neighbor, Sandy, who had THE most amazing yard E-VER. Seriously. I’d look at the withered, brown, crunchy grass on my side of the fence and I’d long for my lawn to be lush and green and soft and inviting. Like the lawn over THERE. In Sandy’s yard. If I could just get to over THERE, I would be happy. I could lie in the sweet tender grass and relax in the warmth of the golden sunshine that seemed to only shine in Sandy’s yard. Over THERE.
Clearly, I was missing something.
Finally, I humbled myself and asked Sandy how she got her yard to be so beautiful. She listed all the same things I was doing in my yard… the watering, the weeding, the aerating… and then she said something I hadn’t thought of before. She. Used. Fertilizer. FERTILIZER??!! She gave me the name of the brand she used and I immediately picked some up and sprinkled it all over my lawn, just the way she instructed. Within a couple months my lawn was green and lush and gloriously magnificent!! All because of fertilizer!! WhoooHooooo!!!! It was awesome!!
One day, several years later, I was grumbling to God (again!) about something in my life and how “it would be SOOOO much better if…” The Lord gently said to me, “Find faith in the fertilizer.”
I had absolutely NO idea what He was talking about, so I forced myself to sit down and be quiet for a little while so I could hear Him speak more clearly on this subject. Suddenly a memory of my beautiful lawn of long ago drifted through my thoughts. I remembered how lush and green it was after I’d started using the fertilizer… but I was still confused by what exactly the Lord was trying to get me to understand. How do you have faith in fertilizer??
“What is fertilizer?” He asked me.
My first thought was the “scientific” blend of teeny-white-popcorn-ball lawn fertilizer I’d used per Sandy’s instructions, but He said, “No, no… more basic than that.” Well… the most “basic” fertilizer I can think of is manure. Horse manure. Cow manure. Bunny poop. Chicken poop. Goat poop. Composty poop. That’s right. A bunch of crap…
It’s completely natural but… it’s stinky… and unpleasant… and, it’s no fun to STEP in, let alone be buried in! But, it’s great for the soil. It actually changes the chemical makeup of the earth and brings it into balance. It makes it healthy. Where things can grow.
I felt Him smile as His message began to take root in my heart.
We all have “crap” in our life that we don’t like to deal with… all the stuff we think of as “waste.” We think we’re in the wrong job or the wrong marriage or car or house or city or discussion. We think if we just got out of these stinky, unpleasant situations our life would be sooo much better. Even when we feel completely buried by it all, God told us He will never give us more than we can bear, (1 Corinthians 10:13) but ONLY because He doesn’t expect us to bear it alone! It IS too much for us to bear if we try to do it WITHOUT Him. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians speaks of the incredible trials they endured, but he said “but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God.” (2 Corinthians 1:8-9)
Some situations ARE toxic and you DO need to get out of them, but those are pretty rare, and you still need to walk with God through them. Instead of escaping the “fertilizer” in our life, what if we allowed it to change us? What if we worked through the yuck – with God! – and allowed the crap to actually change OUR makeup and bring US into balance, just like the manure does for the earth? What if that’s why God allows these things to happen? What if we trusted Him in it? What if the “fertilizer” actually helps drive us into His arms and increases our reliance on Him instead of ourselves?
It still feels like crap and it still stinks… but, I’m starting to understand what He meant when He said to find faith in the fertilizer. It’s not the fertilizer itself I find faith in, it’s finding my faith in GOD while I’m IN the fertilizer of my life.
The grass IS greener… where there’s plenty of water, and sunshine, AND fertilizer.
1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
2 Corinthians 1:8-9 – For we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about the affliction and oppressing distress which befell us in the province of Asia, how we were so utterly and unbearably weighed down and crushed that we despaired even of life itself. Indeed, we felt within ourselves that we had received the very sentence of death, but that was to keep us from trusting in and depending on ourselves instead of on God Who raises the dead.