I live next to acres of farmland. Every harvesting season, I’m so excited to watch the giant harvester machines gather all the grain. The tiny seeds that were planted that spring have now become large crops of produce, and the farmers set out to reap the results of their hard work. I wonder how good it must feel to finally fill the storehouses with the “fruits” of the farmers’ labor.
After the difficult task of harvesting is finished and the crop is safely dispersed, the fields look rather pathetic. The remaining chopped and twisted stalks look like rows of defeated soldiers coming in from a devastating battle. The acres of farmland make for a tattered and disheveled landscape, unfolding against the beautiful, sunlit horizon. It’s almost depressing to behold, and I have to remind myself that there will be new life in the death of that year’s crop.
Finally, the tractors come in and till the earth. The yellowed and ragged stalks are mixed in with the earth, and the dark brown soil appears like a clean slate along the skyline. Possibility, new beginnings, fresh start – are all words that come to mind when I see the acres of empty fields. And I know that the dilapidated stalks will become nourishment for next year’s harvest.
Sometimes God allows acres of our life to be plowed over. Whatever crop we produced is taken away, and we feel like we are left with nothing but tattered dreams and shredded efforts. But God will not allow the fields of our obedience to stay desolate. He will gently till the earth of our hearts, mixing the brokenness with the richness of His favor, blessing, and purpose. Our past will become the fertilizer for our future.
God may destroy the small crop we are clinging onto now in order to give us a bigger and better one. This process doesn’t feel good, and we will feel like defeated soldiers coming in from a devastating battle, but we can trust that God knows what He is doing. He will use all things for our good and for His great plan. Nothing in our life – our effort, our heartbreak, or faithfulness—is ever wasted. God will use our brokenness to enrich our lives and the lives of others.
“I will plant trees in the barren desert—
cedar, acacia, myrtle, olive, cypress, fir, and pine.
I am doing this so all who see this miracle
will understand what it means—
that it is the Lord who has done this,
the Holy One of Israel who created it.”
-Isaiah 41:19-20 (NLT)