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Lessons from My Garden - Part 4
Sunday, July 27, 2014 by Vicki Dorshorn

As I mentioned in part 1, I think of the tomato horn worm as the cankerworm, though in the mid-east, the word translated "cankerworm" may refer to a younger stage of the locust. But every year, my garden is plagued by the tomato hornworms. They are ugly and sometimes vicious. They are considerably larger than the cabbage worm, and much uglier.

The word literally means, "a devourer," and its unused root word means, "to lick up." That is what appears to happen. They just show up one morning, large and green. They have creepy eyes on their heads and a horn on their rear end. Their green color blends with the green leaves of the plants, enabling them to eat to their content without being easily spotted.

I find them by looking at where they've been—twigs or branches stripped of leaves, then looking all around until I find them, usually clinging to the underside of a branch. To pry them off the branch which they are consuming without breaking that branch is a difficult challenge, but once I have them off, I squash them. After all, either they get the tomatoes or I get the tomatoes: they don't share; they just consume everything, destroying even the capacity to bear more blossoms and fruit.

What they represent to me, spiritually, are those things that devour our capacity to produce good things and to nourish ourselves, those things which consume whole portions of our lives. These are like addictions or propensities toward sin, which, once allowed to latch on, will consume us, bit by bit, leaf by leaf, as it were.

Sometimes the things we allow in our lives are things that others say are perfectly fine and good. Society certainly tells us that there is no such thing as sin; some states are even legalizing the use of drugs which can affect the person like the hornworm affects the tomato plant. These things that blend into our culture are nearly undetectable as pests or dangers. How can something that looks or seems so "natural" or "normal" be harmful?

We do well to take heed. By the time the destruction is noticed, it is often hard to get rid of the thing causing it without harming the individual. Serious inspection must occur, followed by a gentle but firm removal of the offending pest, followed by an eradication of it so that it cannot re-attach itself to the person.

Joel 2: 23 says, "Then be glad, sons of Zion, and rejoice in Jehovah your God. For He has given you a teacher (also translated, 'the early rain') according to righteousness, and He will cause the rain to come down for you, the early rain and the latter rain as at the first." A study of the words for "early rain" and "latter rain" yield multiple layers of meaning in that verse, one of which is "to point out or point at."

I often pray in my garden, asking God to point out to me the hornworms, the cankerworms. And He does. I also ask Him to show me any areas of my life that need fixing, any thoughts, feelings, or propensities that I need to get rid of; He is a reliable, wise, and faithful teacher, and He has given me the teaching of the word of God as my guide. He waters my life with early and latter rain, blessings that pour out and blessings that come in little sprinkles of daily "small things."

And the wonderful thing is that this can be a reality to everyone—to you, personally. God's blessings and teachings are available to all, for "whosoever believes."

Next week: "Caterpillars"

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