the field

After the harvest is complete and the land has given of all it bore, the fields are left. Stripped, empty, shaven and shorn down to the scalp. What good things there were have been given freely and lovingly. Now what remains is a barren space, exposed in the raw to the brutality of the winter wind.

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Maybe you’ve felt this way before? It would be a falsity to deny ever having found myself in such a condition. I have been those fields. Stripped of all I had to give. Cut and torn down to the bone. What I once gave so freely was now exhausted and unreplenished. What now did I have to offer? I am a desolate wasteland.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. With empty hands I lifted them to the only One who can make something out of nothing. I have nothing, Lord. But I believe my emptiness is another way for you to show me your power, glory, and beauty. What I cannot, you can.

Then the snow falls on the face of the field. When I had my eyes lifted in hopeful expectation, the cold came in a different form. Instead of the wind lashing across its face, the field is now under the full weight of winter. There is nowhere for this field to go. It must sit under cover and wait. Yet in that close space the quiet steals in, almost shocking in contrast to the howling of the winds. It is here, in the close and the quiet, where the Lord is found…Where my ears can hear his gentle voice.

“Forget the former things. Do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing. Do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland.”          Isaiah 43:18,19

In this heavy space I struggled and pleaded. Please lift this from me. But the more I struggled, the less I could see what was really happening, there in that close and quiet place called waiting.

You see, under the snow, the tired field is insulated from the task of the cold wind. Under the snow, the field that was plucked over is now at rest. Without this rest, there would be no replenishment of what it needs to once again spring up.

I wanted to be healed. I wanted to be fruitful and pleasing to my God. For his kingdom and for his glory. Try as I might. Out of desperation I asked what more needed to be done? What do I have to do to be healed and to have a pure heart? Jesus, I said. You did the work on the cross. You said, “It is finished.” So what now?

Then His words broke through my desperation.

“Wait, my child. You are worried and upset about many things, but only One thing is needed.”

Ah. Indeed it was pointed out to me that I was more akin to Martha than Mary in that moment. I had been distracted trying to prepare my own heart and grow my own fruit. It was as useless as the field trying to grow its own crop without the attention and the work of the hand who very first plants the seeds.

So as I waited there, like the fields closed in beneath the snow, I found I was in the best place I could be- stayed in the healing presence of Jesus Christ. He covered me and hid me beneath the shadow of his wing, drawing me close. It is here in His presence, focusing all my heart and mind’s attention on who He is, where true rest and healing is.

In time, as I’m learning to continually dwell in his presence, I’ve been more and more amazed at just how beautiful my God is, and how loving all His ways. My delight is in Him… And what’s this? In our quiet space when I close my eyes, what do I now see? This field, while still cut close to the ground, is NOT dormant. Watch the small green things and little dark berries pop up. Where it was once empty, new life is beginning to emerge. It may not be in full bloom yet, but knowing this field is capable of growing again brings such relief and hope for what is to come. Where there was always joy found in the Lord, now happiness flows once more. My God is growing fruit. He is making streams in the wasteland.

For it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure.     Philippians 2:13

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