it was a rough spring in this area. the month of May saw well over a foot of snow. and rain that would not end. flood warnings were unending and getting into the fields for planting was next to impossible for many. some were able to plant. some found a different crop with a shorter growth season. a few resorted to flinging seed from crop dusters, hoping for a good result. and others let their fields go fallow for the year, allowing whatever may to grow.
the harvest is approaching and results of the season are evident everywhere. some are lush with corn and beans. others have ground-cover crops to help hold the soil in place. and then there are the untended fields with weeds rampant across their acres. there is no order, no hope for redemption until next year’s planting.
Jesus used many agricultural illustrations and parables. through the centuries others have used garden analogies as well. I have thought through many of them as I drive out of town and pass the various nearby fields.
- weeds grew quickly, even on previously treated fields. untended fields quickly lose their order, despite the labor poured into them. the field does not remember the crops, the tilling, the harvest, the careful watch for pests. how like my heart that forgets God’s goodness, mercy, and grace so lovingly given!
- those who flung seed from an aircraft have lost more than their nice neat rows. weeds grow among the crops. and I have no idea how they are going to manage the harvest when machinery is set for the usual rows. the heart harvest is also coming. Jesus will soon separate the wheat from the tares. yet they must grow together or the crop will be lost altogether. do I trust Him with the tares? or am I trying to rip them out on my own and damaging something fragile He knows is there and is nurturing alongside what I see as a weed?
- Jesus parable of the sower routinely comes to mind, especially when I pass the untidy fields.
- there is little to no doubt which course of action each farmer decided earlier in the year. just as that decision is plain for everyone to see at the end of the growing season, so should the decisions of my heart and faith be evident in my life and journey. a field of corn is not mistaken for one of wheat or beans. oh, that I am so easily identified as Christ’s own!
- sometimes Plan B is just fine. when it is God’s plan, it is better than fine! after long delays, some farmers were able to plant. their crops are looking nice. other farmers planted a different crop. again, the crop is not the one originally intended, but there will be a crop. and to the untrained eye, the crops are looking good. even for those who chose not to plant, a year of rest for the fields can be a great thing. I have no idea what they will deal with next spring and the weeds that have taken up residence on their acres, but rest for the land seems a good thing. I had a prof in college who talked about trying to convince his farmer father to not plant a portion of his land and how good that would be all around. there was a lot of stress back in May when crop decisions were being made and what each farmer would choose to do. and while Plan B may not seem the ideal for many, for some it might have ended up better than their Plan A. I wonder how often God’s perfect Plan A seemed Plan B to me and I fought Him on it, kicking and screaming in my heart, throwing a tantrum because I could not understand what was going on. pouting to friends. begging Him to change His mind and let me have whatever it was I asked for. how I wish true rest in His love, care, and plans were easier.
having lived most of life in major metro areas, I find a smaller rural city refreshing on many levels. snippets of farm life come my way from here and there and I find God often whispering, “pay attention here” as we live the life He has given in this beautiful agricultural patchwork. and I pray that I would rest in and trust His way more each day and less my own!