I made some time this afternoon to return to my current book, Spiritual Rhythms (Mark Buchanan), and read the section on fall. This season is all about our heart anticipating the results of our efforts in the spring, when the soil was prepared and we await the results of our labor. Both in the agricultural world and in matters of the heart, the reminder from Galatians chapter 6 rings true, you and I reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). And yet, for some reason, we are quite shocked when we receive the results of what we have sown into our own lives and the lives of those around us. The reality is that we not only reap what we sow, we store what we gather. Ideally, we are storing away attitudes and friendships that will encourage our hearts and nourish our souls in the days ahead. However, if we are sowing into unhealthy relationships, destructive habits, pride, anger and bitterness, that’s what we will have to sustain us when the winter of our heart arrives.
My mind immediately rushed back to a time in my life where the fall season of my heart was anything but hopeful. I just couldn’t understand why it seemed God had become so distant. Early on, it seemed easier to sense His presence and direction. I felt so close. But now, it was as if God was ignoring my calls and sending me straight to His voicemail. Friends would encourage me to continue praying, “pressing in”, and not to become frustrated, but the frustration was very real. And then, when the crisis of my wife’s cancer arrived, my frustration turned to resentment and I was certain that God had completely withdrawn Himself, leaving us to flail around towards certain defeat. I had chosen to pitch my tent at a dead-end that I fashioned with my own hands. I was now painfully reaping what I had sown.
Long before my wife’s diagnosis, I stopped making my relationship with the Lord a priority. It started small, and seemingly insignificant – “I have too much to do this morning. I’ll read my Bible later.” “I know Jaime and I should be praying more together, but it’s awkward sometimes and when are we going to fit that in anyway?” “Can we just miss this worship service? I really need to get this paper written.” Slowly, my relationship with God became more about the religious things I did, and less about Him having complete control over my life (sowing priorities). Those decisions impacted everything. And I can promise you it was not good. You may ask, what changed things around? I’ll never forget that night. I was at the gas station, unable to get out of the car because I was just done – my heart was so heavy, and I broke. God, whose love for me had never changed, was patiently waiting for our chat. And that conversation made all of the difference in my life then and now.
When I spend time with God – not out of obligation, He meets with me and is eager to show and share more about who He is and what He has for me to do.
When God is not the additive to my life, but becomes my purpose for life, each moment – regardless of its joy or pain – draws me closer to the One who gives me life and orders each step.
Sowing and storing His Truth into my life enables me to look beyond what I can see, trust Him for His presence and provision, and joyfully and confidently share this incredible hope we have in Christ with as many people as possible….with you!
Friend, there’s still time to plant something different in your life, but it’s your choice.