Arizona is blessed cursed with some of the hardest and harshest nutrition-robbed soil I have ever encountered.
When I purchased my home almost seven years ago, my backyard was filled with a lush blanket of green bermuda grass. Sadly, over time–and not without a struggle to save it–the grass slowly died in several spots and my backyard became a mixture of bare caliche-ridden ground and patchy grass.
With the help of my father-in-law and after much nagging gentle prodding from my patient wife, the soil was broken up to receive the new seeds and a layer of soil topper placed over the new grass seed to protect and nurture it so that it would grow new grass over the bare spots.
In order to ensure that the seeds would germinate and grow, I set my sprinkler system to water the newly seeded ground two to three times a day. After what seemed to be an eternity, and after nervous declarations from my wife that we might never again have green grass in our backyard for our children to play on, tiny blades of grass began to emerge out from the protective layer of soil topper. Grass was indeed growing. My wife and I were thrilled as we called her parents to share the joyful news.
As I thought about the grass growing in my backyard, my thoughts turned to the scriptures and the comparison of the word to a seed in Alma 32: 28, 30–33, 36, 39:
28 Now, we will compare the word unto a seed. Now, if ye give place, that a seed may be planted in your heart, behold, if it be a true seed, or a good seed, if ye do not cast it out by your unbelief, that ye will resist the Spirit of the Lord, behold, it will begin to swell within your breasts; and when you feel these swelling motions, ye will begin to say within yourselves-It must needs be that this is a good seed, or that the word is good, for it beginneth to enlarge my soul; yea, it beginneth to enlighten my understanding, yea, it beginneth to be delicious to me.
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30 But behold, as the seed swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, then you must needs say that the seed is good; for behold it swelleth, and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow. And now, behold, will not this strengthen your faith? Yea, it will strengthen your faith: for ye will say I know that this is a good seed; for behold it sprouteth and beginneth to grow.
31 And now, behold, are ye sure that this is a good seed? I say unto you, Yea; for every seed bringeth forth unto its own likeness.
32 Therefore, if a seed groweth it is good, but if it groweth not, behold it is not good, therefore it is cast away.
33 And now, behold, because ye have tried the experiment, and planted the seed, and it swelleth and sprouteth, and beginneth to grow, ye must needs know that the seed is good.
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36 Behold I say unto you, Nay; neither must ye lay aside your faith, for ye have only exercised your faith to plant the seed that ye might try the experiment to know if the seed was good.
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39 Now, this is not because the seed was not good, neither is it because the fruit thereof would not be desirable; but it is because your ground is barren, and ye will not nourish the tree, therefore ye cannot have the fruit thereof.
Life can often imitate the harsh soil of the desert southwest and cause barren patches of testimony within our hearts. Without constant nourishment and feeding, our testimonies can and will die in the harsh soil of life. We need to feast upon the words of Christ and nurture the word of God in our souls.
If there are barren patches of testimony in your life, I urge you to follow Alma’s words of counsel and plant the seed of the word in your hearts. You will be amazed by what follows!