Friday, July 27, 2018
Philippians 4:5 The Lord is near.
James 5:7 – 8 7Be patient, then, brothers, until the Lord’s coming…be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.
Across the street from my house in Wisconsin is a field that usually produces corn and soybeans for a farmer who lives down the road. But one year there was a different kind of farming taking place in that dirt. The highway construction that took place adjacent to that field needed tons of fill dirt to build the road, and the farmer has allowed the highway department to get it from his field.
First, the crews stripped off all the valuable black dirt and piled it up on one end of the field. Then they started stripping away the sandy soil from underneath and transporting it to the road site. All summer long there were huge bulldozers and graders working on the land. Finally, they had their fill of fill, and they began replacing the black dirt. The hill that was once beside our road is no longer there, but the newly leveled topsoil looks ready to plant crops in again. Depending on what he decides to plant, the farmer may get to work preparing that soil yet this fall so that in the spring it may produce a crop.
I wonder how the farmer felt having his normal routine interrupted for a season? He stood by and watched as someone totally transformed the contours of his land. He was forced to look for feed for the cows from sources other than his own productivity. He had to adjust. Granted, he had chosen to enter into this contract and was probably paid well for it, but he still had to change his routine and step out of his comfort zone.
I think we can understand it to a degree because it happens to us in our lives as well. Our normal routines are constantly being interrupted. Outside influences are stripping away our productivity. Sometimes we make the choice to do it, but other times we are forced out of our comfort zones. Let me suggest to you that most of the time it is God who has initiated the disruption of our routine. God knows all about our dirt. God loves to dig around in the dirt of our lives. But He never destroys the productivity of the topsoil. He may need to strip away some of the fill we have underneath, but His purpose is always to create a greater harvest.
When the farmer prepared his land for the highway department, he decided that this would be a great opportunity to make his field more productive by increase the size of his harvest. A large portion of the hill that was to be removed along the road was covered with trees. He hired a crew to come in and harvest the lumber. After the trees were removed, the highway department dug out more fill for the road, and the farmer was left with a few extra acres of level tillable land.
That’s what God does with our lives. He sees potential for areas we think are nice enough as they are. We may like the trees we have planted, a greater reward in cutting them down and re-purposing that part of our life. But it takes a total transformation of the topography. God may not ever change, but He sure knows that we need to. It may feel like the shelter of your trees is being removed and the topsoil of your life is being stripped away, but God is doing it to transform you into a more productive person.
There’s one more lesson. When the work on the land was completed, I was awakened one morning by a terrible smell coming through the window. As the wind started to blow lightly out of the north, the strong smell of freshly spread cow manure came rudely into the room. It really stunk. In preparation for next year’s growing season, on his newly leveled land, the farmer was spreading natural fertilizer.
Maybe today your life stinks because someone is spreading manure all over you. Remember, God is using that to prepare your life to yield a greater harvest than ever. Be patient. The Lord is near, and He knows what He is doing. Let Him plow up your dirt, because when the rains come and mix the manure with your soil, you will produce a harvest of righteousness.
Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your unplowed ground; for it is time to seek the LORD, until he comes and showers righteousness on you. Hosea 10:12 (NIV)