From Tragedy to Triumph

by | Aug 20, 2016 | News

This week, I heard about a big, strong, man in Ohio. We’ll call him Tom. Unlike many of the guys reading this post (myself included), Tom was imposing enough to be hired as a bouncer at an “adult beverage facility.”

Tom had a job, but he did not have a Savior. He also had a wonderfully well-kept and producing garden on an acre behind his house – w a y out in the country. At the time my acquaintance met Tom, it was about harvest time for most of his fruits & veggies. Then one night, it  happened…

Whether it was the result of human carelessness or animal cunning, we don’t know. What we do know is that a neighbor’s 2 cows got out and “enjoyed” Tom’s garden all night long. Of course they didn’t even “moo,” they were too busy eating (and, if I know anything about feeding bovines – relieving themselves at will).

2 cows

Next morning,  Tom discovered the disaster that used to be his garden. The cows were gone by then, saving Tom at least 2 rounds of whatever rifle he would have used on them. He summarily called his neighbor over to see the utter and complete carnage. Seems they were not friends previously. He came and Tom ranted and raved. Much of what he said could not be shared on this website. What can be shared is that Tom, at one point, intimated he wouldn’t mind killing the neighbor…because he was so mad!

Don’t know if it was a Saturday, but Tom was home at dusk that same day when there was a knock on the door. By the time he got to the door and opened it, he was able to see his neighbor’s truck drive away…Odd.

Yet as he looked around his porch, he saw boxes and boxes of vegetables, and fruit…even some home-canned jars. He then realized that his neighbor had completely harvested his own garden and brought it all to Tom in true repentance for what had happened.

Tom had a lot to think about when he went to bed that night. What was his neighbor thinking?
What about food for his own kids?

Finally, at 2am, he got a hold of my acquaintance (Martin). Martin had shared Christ with Tom just about 72hrs before and Tom wanted nothing to do with it…even scoffed at the idea of needing a sinless Savior. Now, he was insisting Martin come over to talk with him. Martin came and was told the “neighbor story.” Afterwards Martin went inside the house and as soon as he walked in the living room, Tom began to cry. Actually, it was more like wailing…and it was the most intense wailing Martin had ever heard. Tom said he felt so bad about the way he had treated his neighbor that morning – but that was just the tip of the iceberg of offenses toward God and His people. Tom was the picture of confession and contrition.

He came to Christ that morning. It wasn’t what Martin said a few days before, it was what Tom’s neighbor did.

On that point, we think of James 2:18 “…show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”  As the world puts it: “Well done is better than well said.”

There were two broken men in that middle-of-nowhere neighborhood that day:

1 gave up his crops &

1 gave up his pride.

The marauding cows were the best thing that could have happened to Tom the previous night, but only because their owner was sensitive, responsible, and thorough. Not the first time God has used 2 cows. (1 Samuel 6:7, 12)

Perhaps now that Tom has a relationship with Jesus, he is ready to apply a covering to his freshly fertilized garden. Relational permaculture is within his grasp! Is it within yours?   DD