My An Arkie's Faith column from the August 4, 2021, issue of The Polk County Pulse.
My phone dinged, notifying me that I had a text message. I pulled the phone out of my pocket and checked my messages. The text from my wife showed photos of pallets of sod in my backyard, with workers laying the sod in nice even rows. “It’s finally happening,” I thought. “We have been waiting a long time.”
Over a year ago, we started a renovation project in our backyard. Our house is almost thirty years old, and the deck at the back of the house had deteriorated. I decided to replace the deck with Trex composite decking. After replacing the decking, we planned to pour a cement patio below the raised composite deck. I called several concrete finishers but could not get anyone to make a bid on the project. After several months, I learned about someone who did concrete work, and I hired him to pour the slab and build steps. The job that he did was terrible. Several people who saw the finished product told me it was the worst workmanship they had ever seen. I was devastated. What was I going to do now?
I called a local home builder who is a customer of mine and asked him if he knew of a good concrete finisher. He gave me the name of the man that he used. When I called Sam, he made an appointment to look at the concrete. When he looked at my terrible patio job, he told me that the only thing he could do was cap the entire slab with another four inches of reinforced concrete.
Sam gave me a bid for the job, and I told him that I wanted him to do it. He told me that he would put me on the schedule, but it would be months before he could get to it. Just in time for Easter, I had an attractive professional concrete patio. It had taken a year, but I was excited and happy to have my project almost finished. There was just one more thing that I needed to do to make it complete. Because I had capped the bad concrete with four more inches, I now had an eight-inch drop-off. I needed to bring in topsoil and raise the level of my backyard.
If we were going to do dirt work in my backyard, we would need to plant grass. We decided to sod our backyard. But this spring was very rainy. I was ready for the backyard renovation project to be finished. But it was too wet to bring in topsoil, and it was too wet to cut sod. I would have to wait. Every couple of weeks, my wife would check in with Kathy to find out when we might get sod. And every time we thought it would happen soon, we would have heavy rainfall that would delay the project.
Last week, Kathy told us that within a week, we would have new sod. A couple of days later, I looked nervously at the sky as it started to rain. Before long, the summer heat gave way to torrents of rain. “Oh no,” I thought. “Our sod project may be delayed again.” Thunder rolled, and lightning flashed. One clap of thunder was so loud that it made me jump. My phone and internet service went down. But after fifteen minutes, the rain stopped, the sun came out, and my shop became a sweltering sauna.
I wasn’t sure if there had been enough rain to delay our sod project. I hoped that we were still on schedule. So, I was thrilled and excited when my wife texted photos of the sod in my backyard. I had been envisioning my beautiful new deck, patio, and lawn for over a year. It was finally happening.
Once the sod was laid, it needed to be watered. According to the website, Sodlawn, “Watering new sod is an essential step in the process of establishing your lawn. Do not allow the sod to dry out. Most issues we see in the first 14 days are due to the fresh sod not getting enough moisture to keep the sod alive!” The moment the last strip of sod was laid, we started watering. We wanted what was best for the sod. We had waited too long and spent too much money to let anything happen to the sod.
In Isaiah 44:3,4 (GNT), God says, “I will pour out my spirit on your children and my blessing on your descendants. They will thrive like well-watered grass, like willows by streams of running water.” The Bible often uses the imagery of rain and water to describe how God benefits our lives. “I will send victory from the sky like rain; the earth will open to receive it and will blossom with freedom and justice. I, the Lord, will make this happen.” Isaiah 45:8 (GNT)
In the New Testament, Jesus refers to his teaching as life-giving water. In John 4:14 (NLT), he says, “those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.” And in John 7:38 (NCV), Jesus taught, “If anyone believes in me, rivers of living water will flow out from that person’s heart.” Christians who believe in Jesus will share this life-giving water. It will flow from their heart. And our access to living water will also extend to heaven. “They will never again be hungry or thirsty; they will never be scorched by the heat of the sun. For the Lamb on the throne will be their Shepherd. He will lead them to springs of life-giving water.” Revelation 7:16,17 (NLT)
Gentle Reader, I hope that you are being watered with the life-giving water that Jesus offers to you. In Isaiah 27:3 (TPT), God describes his people as a vineyard. “I, the Lord, watch over my vineyard of delight. Moment by moment, I water it in love and protect it day and night.” I love this imagery. We are God’s delight. He waters us with His love every moment and protects us day and night. He desires to make each vine in the vineyard the best it can be. So, he tends to the vines and waters them. I am watering my new sod because I want it to thrive. God wants you to thrive, and he has promised to water and protect you. “The Lord will guide you continually, giving you water when you are dry and restoring your strength. You will be like a well-watered garden, like an ever-flowing spring.” Isaiah 58:11 (NLT)