Published 10:59 am Wednesday, August 5, 2020

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If you think I am hiding from COVID-19, you are wrong. Yes, I am staying indoors, but it is not the virus that is doing it. I am hiding out from summer’s heat.

Doug Creamer writes a religion column for the SNAP.

The TV weathermen could actually take a vacation at this time of year in the Carolinas. All they need to do it record themselves saying, “Today’s weather will be hot, with highs in the 90s with some scattered thunderstorms.” That forecast will work from now until September.

The high heat and humidity have a bad effect on me. I tend to stay inside in the air-conditioning. I go out in the late evening to water and try to keep our plants and garden alive. Some evenings I can be out there for over an hour watering things and feeding the hungry mosquitos. It is hard to maintain a healthy garden and pretty plants.

I find it so amazing that the plants and vegetables you want to grow struggle so hard, but the weeds seem to grow beautifully. I don’t think I have ever seen a weed wilt in the summer heat. I need to get out in the garden and clear out both the weeds and the plants that are done and put in some things in hopes of a fall harvest.

We have been enjoying some tasty treats from our garden as well as some from local farmers. The peaches and strawberries have been good this year. It seems that there is not enough room in the refrigerator to store all the summer treats. A watermelon can take up an entire shelf. This is when I miss the old refrigerator in the garage.

I have been unhappy about two things this year. My blueberry bushes looked full early this spring. I was excited about the potential harvest. I did my duty and covered the bushes with mesh to keep the birds away. As I watched, I noticed that the bushes kept losing the berries.

We have quite a large population of squirrels this year. I have looked out and seen a half dozen around the birdfeeders. Where is a hawk when you need one? Those squirrels were crawling under my mesh and eating my blueberries.

My mouth has been watering as I watched the corn tassel and the silks start to show a little color. Then I went out to water the corn the other day and I saw one of the ears had been eaten. The others looked fine. The next day about a half dozen ears were mutilated. I blamed some raccoons because we put up fences to keep the deer out. I saw the corn doing an odd little dance this morning. When I went out to inspect, two squirrels went running for the woods. My corn was done. They had eaten all of it.

Farming, I am convinced, has to be the hardest occupation. You have to fight the weather, bugs and pestilence, rodents and deer. It reminds me of the battle we face every day to maintain our Christian walk.

We have an enemy that wants to destroy us because we have decided to follow Christ. He infests our lives with doubt, fear and shame. He knows all of our hot buttons and presses them often. He knows which sins easily entangle us. He sows discouragement in our hearts. He works hard to keep us distracted from following Jesus. He makes us feel unworthy of God’s love. He will do anything to keep us unfruitful for the Kingdom.

We have to guard the seeds of God’s word in our hearts. We need to water those seeds with God’s promises and prayer. We have to stir up faith in our lives. We have to pull those weeds of doubts and fear from our lives. When we feel distracted or tempted to sin, we need to ask for help. God knows we can’t win those battles alone. We need to live our lives in such a way that we bring glory and honor to God, which is our spiritual fruit.

I want to encourage you to roll up your sleeves and prepare to get sweaty and dirty. We all have spiritual gardens to maintain. We need to encourage each other and challenge each other to a deeper walk with God. Those deep roots will help us during dry spiritual times. Ask God to make His word alive as we read it. Pray for your friends and loves ones, your prayers are making an impact. Never give up, because the fruit you are producing will have eternal rewards. We need each other if we intend to see the harvest that God intends.

Contact Doug Creamer at PO Box 777, Faith, NC 28041 or