Some days are just cold and nasty and negative.
The wind howled and blew and pushed the snow wherever it wanted to, and I looked out the window of my red truck and held tight to the steering wheel as I saw another gust of bitter wind barreling across the cornfield.
The outside matched the inside. In the backseat of the truck I had one child in complete distress over someone else’s blankey that she couldn’t take home with her and my other child was in tears because of his sister’s screams. The one howled her emotions as strong as the wind, and the other was driven along, like the snow that was quickly forming banks alongside the road and creating slick patches of ice.
And I gripped that steering wheel and felt just as helpless. My own inside felt weak from prior stress. My emotions soon bundled together and decided to make the brave jump to the outside world and I let them slide down my cheeks. There we were, the three of us crying together trying to make it home in the snowstorm.
Sometimes life has a way of slowing me down. The wind leaves my sails and I’m left rocking back and forth to the gentle push of the waves. The boat comes to a halt and my first thought is “What? Why are we stopping? We have places to be.”
I look across the expanse of the water and I can faintly make out our landing spot. “See! That’s where it is. Come on God, we can do this!” But the wind is gone. The sails hang limp, and I obviously can’t get the boat there on my own.
This is exactly where He wants me. Sailing is wonderful (did I mention it was sub-zero wind-chill today?). Oh my goodness, sailing is wonderful. But if you get all anxious about reaching your destination, you miss the joy of just being. A lesson I needed to learn.
We are not here to do just for the sake of doing. We are here to be. If we are not properly “being” then we are most definitely not effectively “doing.” If we are properly “being” then He is effectively “doing.” He is the One who works. If we try to sail the boat with our big destination in sight, our eyes are no longer on Him. If our eyes are on Him, He drives the boat perfectly to wherever He has destined it to go.
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.” John 15:4
Of course, we are all called to live out our faith with our actions. This involves doing. But what a sad scenario we create when we neglect the Vine in our quest for bearing fruit. Our fruit then becomes fruitless. Our “doing” is of our own abilities and those abilities are amazingly lacking.
So it is with this in mind, that I hold my hands up in weakness. I need more time to abide. If I miss a week of blogging, you can know my time schedule forced a choice between writing or “fill up time” and I chose the latter. Perhaps this will happen often. Perhaps it won’t. Perhaps some days writing will coincide with abiding. Each week has a rhythm all its own.
I’m sitting down in my windless boat, feeling rather exhausted from the day… the week… but ya know what? It’s peaceful. I can hear the soothing sound of the water lap the edge of the boat. “Just be. Be with Me.”
I can picture Him, standing in a boat like this, gently swaying at sea, with a crowd of people along the shoreline, eager to hear Him. Can you smell the salty air? Can you hear the mamas try to quiet their children so that they could hear what God had to say?
“Listen! Behold, a sower went out to sow…”
“Wait… what did He just say? I missed that part. What is He saying?”
“Sshh! I’m trying to listen right now!”
“The sower sows the word. And these are the ones by the wayside where the word is sown. When they hear, Satan comes immediately and takes away the word that was sown in their hearts. These likewise are the ones sown on stony ground…. And they have no root in themselves, and so endure only for a time. Afterward, when tribulation or persecution arises for the word’s sake, immediately they stumble….”
“Did He say persecution for the Word’s sake?”
“Yes, on account of the Word.”
“Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful. But these are the ones sown on good ground, those who hear the word, accept it, and bear fruit.”
Hear the Word. Accept it. Bear fruit.
During His life on earth, Yeshua made it a regular practice to get away from the people to just be. He went to the mountains, the sea, the gardens, and the desert to spend time alone, in the Word and in prayer.
This act is far from selfish. In fact it’s just the opposite. If someone can plug away teaching and sharing, ministering, and even just living without actively seeking His voice, he or she has way too much confidence in him or herself. It is misplaced and the fruit will wither. We need to fill up in order to pour out or we will be left pouring out ourselves into other people, which is not only extremely draining but powerless.
“The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me by still waters. He restores my soul. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalm 23
Consider the different kinds of ground for the seed (which is the Word of God and is absolutely not “antiquated” or irrelevant) to land on. The wayside, stones, thorn bushes… or fertile ground. We can know all of these “grounds” are legitimate just as Jesus said. I don’t care which one you were yesterday. Decide right now today to become the good soil.
What was the first step in bearing fruit? Hear the Word and accept it. Sit down and listen. Abide.
Ok, Lord. Ok. Here I am in the middle of nowhere in this boat with You. Teach me.