I came home to a wonderful surprise this week – sitting on the kitchen counter was a bag of real tomatoes! Not the mealy, no taste kind that the grocery stores offer, but beautiful red summer tomatoes. Our ‘across the field’ neighbors had grown them in a raised bed with an irrigation system and they shared with our ‘across the road’ neighbors, Jack and Zeta, who shared with us.
What a bounty! I was already planning on hamburgers for supper, so I pulled out breaded okra from the freezer that I had put up over the summer and popped them in the oven with some olive oil and we had a delicious supper that made me feel like we were back in the lazy days of summer.
The tomatoes were a special gift considering the terrible drought we are enduring here in Northwest Georgia. According to the website US drought monitor, our area is under an Exceptional Drought, the worst kind. It has been months since we have had any rain. My flower garden that I love so much is dried up and dead, our meager tomatoes and peppers have long since bit the dust, and the trees are turning brown. It is October, the temperatures are in the 90’s and our air conditioner is still going strong. Even this week-end’s terrible hurricane has not brought any rain to us here in Sugar Valley.
So in the midst of the barrenness we received this gift of tomatoes, juicy and sweet. They reminded me that even when life feels as dried up as my yard right now, God unexpectedly shows up. Maybe a friend calls or sends a message, or I read a devotional or hear a sermon that speaks to my heart, and I feel God saying, “I’m still here.” He never left the Hebrews as they wandered around in the desert for 40 years, and He will not leave us during the dry and dusty times of our lives.
When I’m going through a dry period, I have to remind myself that it will end, that I’ll get out of the doldrums and life will be brighter. Just as I’m trusting that it will rain again, I know that the desert times of my life won’t last forever. Meanwhile I’ll enjoy the reminders of God’s presence, including a tomato sandwich in October!