Saturday, March 9, 2019

Not quite ready yet

When the ground soaks up the falling rain and bears a good crop for the farmer, it has God’s blessing. (Hebrews 6:7) There are lots of soil types that a farmer might come across in his journey to bring forth a crop. There might be rocky soil that is able to bear some crop, but then it soon withers because of the lack of both nutrients and the intensity of heat scorching the tender new growth. The soil could be hard, unyielding to the seed sown, allowing the seed to be easily snatched away by scavenging birds or carried on the wind to parts unknown. Regardless of the type of soil, it has to be "tended" in order to bring forth a crop. The farmer has a great deal of work which must be accomplished PRIOR to planting the seed, doesn't he? Then why would we expect anything less of our hard hearts? God has a lot of work which must also be done in the soil of our hearts if it is to be readied to receive the seed he plants there!

Renewal is the process of something being made new or refreshed. The process of renewal for the one who farms is often a process of plowing the earth - turning over the soil time and time again until it is "fit" for the reception of the seed. In the plowing process, renewal occurs because that soil is broken up, allowing the farmer to see what is hidden below the surface. The plow has a purpose - it is to create a newness in that field. The plow cuts up the fallow (hard) areas - those that have remained un-turned, trodden down by constant wear and tear, scorched by the heat of day. Those fallow areas are often barren of any real growth because they simply have not been touched by the farmer's plow. Once the plow is brought to that soil, it has a chance to yield a crop. The surface has been opened to accept what might be sown, but it is still not ready despite being opened. The plow often digs deep, opening up the soil, but that first pass of the plow is not the last. It is by the frequent and consistent passage of that plow over that soil that it is made receptive.

The plow's work is not done until what is hidden is exposed - in a spiritual sense, these might be the hidden areas of our heart that have been carefully guarded against exposure. We often "tuck away" certain areas of our hearts (of our emotions) that have been hurt by others, neglected through misuse, or simply ignored because of a lack of interest. The Lord is a compassionate farmer - he knows that what remains hidden will only hinder the growth of the crops he desires to produce. It is only in the exposure of what lies beneath the surface that he can truly ensure hindrances to our growth are removed. The plow takes what is unyielding and makes it broken - it is always in God's plan that the soil of our hearts be open to receive what he has for us. When the farmer first passes the plow, the clods of dirt are huge! In the frequent passage of that plow, those clods become more broken, smaller in size, and more receptive to the seed. Huge things in our minds and hearts are made smaller by the passage of God's "plow". The impossible become possible because he breaks it down to manageable size.

It is by the plow's passage that what is untouched is made fresh. Rocks are exposed and in the exposure of those rocks, there comes the possibility of finally removing them. The rocks serve no purpose in the field, but they may make a nice fence - their usefulness in the field is limited, but in the master's hand, even rocks have a purpose. In the passage of the plow, weeds are removed - allowing that which only sucks away our strength to be removed and the soil of our hearts to be available to bring forth the fruit he promises. The plow is never easy, but it indeed has such huge potential. The heart is made ready for God's seeding. New areas of our spirit, mind, and emotions are opened to the possibility of God's new growth - through the process of the Spirit's plow. I don't know what God uses for the plow in your life, but I have experienced loss of job, sickness, trouble in relationships, financial stress, turmoil at work, and infinite other things. Each served a purpose - although their purpose may not have been readily evident in the midst of the plowing! The important thing is that he knows what plow brings us to the place of our optimal growth opportunities! So, instead of resisting his care, we need to yield ourselves to it. In so doing, we enjoy the possibility of renewal. Just sayin!

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