After experiencing two spring floods that wiped out our newly planted gardens- twice, massive raids of new garden pests that refuse to respond to natural measures, fire blight that forced the destruction of all our beautiful apple trees, the mystery deaths of six out of nine turkey poults, a stubborn fungus invasion due to intense humidity and lastly, a hail storm that shredded the majority of our remaining garden, I didn’t expect to be humming “The Comeback” song by Danny Gokey as I walk through a mysteriously reviving garden! But here we are with a counter full of produce that I am begging coworkers to take home. I continued to hum that song today as I baked double batches of lemon/walnut zucchini bread, chocolate zucchini cake and chocolate chip zucchini bread and planned out next week’s menu inspired by this morning’s harvest- stuffed zucchini, cucumber salad, swiss chard quiche, stuffed peppers- it’s surreal to finally have produce after three years of frustration, sweat and disappointment. Here comes the come back!!
There is something so encouraging about come back stories (consider all the movies with that story line!) I think it’s the element of surprise that infuses such joy into the story. You can’t have a comeback without having suffered loss. Usually the loss isn’t just contained to the situation- it sneaks into one’s heart and steals hope. That’s why we like come back stories so much- they infuse hope.
The Bible is plum full of comeback stories, and in each one it is apparent the protagonists did not expect (and could have never planned or even dreamed up) the ending. It’s always a crazy, wild, exorbitant surprise! Abraham came back from childlessness, Jacob from wandering, Joseph from prison, Moses from the wilderness, Ruth from widowhood and poverty, the prodigal son from sin, Jesus from the grave (He knew the whole story ahead of time, but everyone else was surprised!)
Along with surprise, I see an element of responsibility. We are saved from our hopeless storyline and loved back to life in order to share what we have been given. Abraham shared his faith, Joseph shared his wisdom, Moses shared his connection with God, Ruth shared her hope, Jesus shared His salvation and life.
Every loss, every disappointment and struggle can be the beautiful beginning of a comeback story. If we press into God through the struggle, He is faithful to guide us, and His goodness is a constant source of hope and strength, sufficient for overcoming. Once you have experienced it, you have a testimony (a comeback story!) that will infuse hope and strength into the defeated and broken around you. Even better, we infuse our own hearts with faith every time we share our story. I desire to be a good steward of my story- the incredible, loving redemption of God experienced in my own little life. I’d like to encourage you to be brave and share yours as well! And when we get stuck, we can swap comeback stories. I’ll bring the zucchini:)
And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.