4th grade. Recess. Basketball Court. Anyway I rode the bus home and walked into the shop where my dad was servicing a tractor. I stood by the wood stove to warm my hands. My dad asked me how my day was. I didn't know that I wanted to talk about it. As I stood there in front of the wood stove I explained my sorrows. I told him how the other kids didn't think I was any good at basketball and always put me on a team with the other "losers" so they could easily beat us. They had been doing this everyday for weeks. I had been practicing, but I just never seemed to get any better. I felt like I didn't have a friend in the world. It felt hopeless.
Then he explained to me what would become known as "The Little Tomato Story".
You see when a little tomato plant is in the greenhouse if it gets all the water it needs it will grow fast and tall and be lush and green. If you take a tomato plant like that and put it outside in the field, it will stand no chance. It is too soft. It will fall over in the wind and die.
But if you take that little tomato plant while it is still in the greenhouse and hold back on the water, it is going to wilt. It looks bad at the time, but what is going on is important. When that tomato plant wilts it makes the stem tougher and the roots grow deep as they search for water. When you put this tomato plant out in the field the stem will be strong enough to stand against the wind.
I knew what he meant. It helped.
James 1:2-4 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers , whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."