Christian Comment with John Thompson minister of Stonehouse Methodist Church

AN EXCELLENT gardener was unimpressed by my vegetable plot.

And when I thought about the beautiful produce in his garden, I had to admit that my efforts left something to be desired. 

We were never going to be self sufficient - but at least I had tried. 

I had bought the seeds and planted them.

I may not have been so good at the after-care but I had started. Even so, I was quite taken aback when he began uprooting the dwarf beans and pronouncing judgement on them: ‘not worth having’, ‘that’s a weak one’ and other such comments, as he cast the feeble things onto a heap.

Now I know people who think that God is a bit like that: they think God can do everything well, and only ever looks at people with sadness at best, and harsh judgements at worst - so I should tell you the rest of the gardener story.

We went away for three weeks shortly after the above encounter - you can imagine our surprise when we came back to find not only a healthy row of dwarf beans, but also cabbages, sweet corn and sprouts, which we had never planted.

Seeing what a hopeless gardener I was, my friend had taken pity on me, and come to my rescue - he had even left a packet of fertilizer in the back porch, so that we had no excuse for not producing a splendid crop later in the year.

A good friend indeed - and a much truer picture of how God feels towards you and me.

He knows what we are like, and the Bible speaks again and again of a ‘God of compassion’ - something thoroughly demonstrated by the life of Jesus: he shows only understanding whether speaking to the thief on the cross beside him or to the woman caught in adultery.

And he understands you.