Breaking Up the Fallow Ground-Jere 4:3 (December 2010)
A few months ago I had a very deep conversation with my husband. We talk a lot, but that day was different. I had been experiencing some spiritual challenges of late. I thought perhaps it was stress, just giving birth several months ago and then finding out I was expecting a new little one. Perhaps it was work and homeschooling that might be just wearing on me. But, sitting in silence over the last few days and really thinking about where I am now and were I have been, I discovered there was a dramatic difference in my character and in my way of life.
In times past I thought about what a free spirit I use to be. I thirst for time with others and with showing love to people. I truly enjoyed being out living life and watching for what God was going to do next. But, of late, I have become so isolated and less involved in the world around me, the people around me. Where I once yearned for fellowship, I now can’t wait to just end the day and go to bed. It is such a sad thing and I have noticed it so much so that it breaks my own heart. Now, don’t get me wrong, I know that life can bring its challenges, and that children and home and work can weigh on you at times. Being pregnant doesn’t actually help either, but in spite of those things, I know I can also still have the joy and the desire that I always had.
So, what happened, what went wrong over the last several years that has just completely removed my heart of flesh and given me a heart of stone. I began to reflect on Jeremiah the 4th chapter. Some years ago I did a study on this particular chapter and also the time period were the Lord had sent Jeremiah to speak to the children of Israel. The children of Israel were God’s people, his heart, his love, his chosen folk to go and take a special message to a dying world. Over time though, they had lost their zeal for God, their mission, and looking to a soon coming savior. They forgot that they were the ones who needed to carry this message no matter what happened or took place to try to block it from going forth. It was not told to them that the way would be an easy way, but should look to God for strength to carry them through.
But, with time, as many of us do, and what I realized I had done over the last few years, is gotten comfortable. Having had some bumps along the way and distractions, I lost my zeal for life and for my father, and our relationship. It has become just another routine, and nothing more than something I feel I am obligated to do, rather than happy to do. I also lost my mission, which I have known since I was a little girl, was to love people, no matter who they are, or where they come from, what they have done. I discover as I get older, what real love is through Christ and realized that this must be my mission. But, as can never be avoided, you go through things that affect your life in so many ways, things that try to alter and change your perspective. Things that challenge your heart and make you have to choose between staying the course or adjusting to your surroundings and your experiences. I can reflect back on such experiences and see where it all began for me. Although, now realizing that it wasn’t all the attack of the enemy, but rather necessary character building situations that force me to grow and grab harder to my father.
All too often, I allowed those things to create ditches and root up love, and joy in my life. To take away my zeal for life and rather fear life and what might happen next. Instead of opening up to others, I have shut myself off from them. Instead of trusting and serving, I have began to mistrust and become self-dependent. Instead of seeking the mission, I seek to just be still for fear of being hurt or misunderstood. Basically, self-centered and taking my eyes off of Christ. The funny thing is you become the very thing you are working hard to reach out to in others.
So, I thought back to the message that God had given to Jeremiah, to give to the children of Israel. Using a language that they could understand, he gave them a lesson on how to repair a ground, that was once fertile, useful and produced fruit. Now, has become barren, ground has become too hard to plant a seed and now has rotten roots and rocks which prevent a plow from being able to come through and draw ditches to lay seed. This ground is barren, unfruitful and lay in waist. But, while reading about this, I read about what must be done sometimes to a field which has not bore fruit in a while. Sometimes, the topsoil is set afire and let burn. All of the soil on top, along with the left over old fruit or crops are burned and then turned over into the soil to be fertilizer which is powerful food for the new seeds to be planted and a more fertile crop to grow.
When I read that, I first thought to myself,” that is crazy, set your field afire in order for it to prepare the soil to produce a good crop?”. There seemed to be so many dangers and what if the fire caught to something else and damaged it. But, the cropper would never leave the field without being there to watch it carefully and control the burn. Then I thought to myself, “the refiners fire!” That fire which God allows us to go through…..wait….what we MUST go through in order for us to be made GOLD that shines and will be so clean that we reflect his image. The fire doesn’t feel good by any means, but has a purpose. To the outsider, and also to us, all we see are the flames, danger and pain. But, the cropper, who does this for a living, knows the purpose behind why it must take place and has plans in store to keep the fire under control.
So, needless to say, I am on this journey, to examine myself and see what must be done to my soil to make it fertile again. One things for sure, a new fresh experience with my savior is in order each and every day. But, I must do my part. I have to begin to remove the rocks, and roots that prevent the planting season to take place. I also must yield my soul to be burned (purified) so that I am ready for the seed and can produce good fruit.
Thank God for his ability to transform our barren soil to fertile ground 🙂