Thursday, September 12, 2013

When We Get Dirty

  I drove through a lush valley the other day. Farmlands were ripe with artichokes, corn and a bounty of assorted vegetables laid ready for harvest. Laborers in the growing land became human conveyor belts as the boxed produce traveled from field to truck. The more south we drove the landscape began

 to take the appearance of a giant zebra. The striped markings rolled over farmed mounds were perfectly spaced to accommodate the rows and rows of grapevines. I couldn’t get over the bounty of the land mile after mile. 
        My eyes gazed to homes situated on hilltops on each side. I thought to myself – Man, that must be some view each morning! What a great place to live!  But the longer I dwelled on the glory of living on a hill, the more I realized that most of my enjoyment would just be for taking in the beauty of the harvest rather than experiencing the wonder of touching the fruit of labor. Certainly hilltop living has its place, besides just scenery. There is wisdom in seeing the whole operation of growing and harvesting from an eagle eye; however something magical happens on the ground floor of hard work. 
      The life picture displayed for me, soon became God’s voice and colors of grace were drawn in. It was a canvas of the ups and downs of walking with the Lord. We’ve all heard friends talk about their mountain experience with gusto, but then we’ve also listened as others sigh when they are in a low place filled with struggle. I saw the low place of toil as the farmers became human ants working together for a common good. It was indeed hard work. My dimly lit window that I peeking out of into spiritual matters swirled before me and the breath of His spirit breathed into my small space so I could chat with my Maker. I rubbed off the moisture of his breath. The great scene of the abundance that lies in the low valleys of our souls became clearer with each wipe of the glass. Could it be so? that in middle of our hardest labor that  some of God’s best work is done?
       We are so accustomed to the struggle in the valley that we don’t look for much else like the laborers whose body aches from muscle spasms and sore joints from years of abuse. He continues to pull weeds, water and maintain the farm because harvest is coming. In the scorching heat his head is covered while his clothing takes on the color of the mud.  The long hours have dug the farmland into his pores.

But then…a green shoot bursts through the soil
 before long..
a flower bud appears.
Soon the flower falls to the ground and dies,
now a budding fruit starts to take shape.
 Weeks later,
harvest has come.

     The perfect environment for growth has been formed in the middle of back breaking work. The harvest will bring a revival of bounty that is distributed to all who will receive. .

                          The bounty doesn’t just happen.
                                      It happens in the valley of struggle.
                                                 It happens through persistence and pain.
                         It happens when old things die so new life can be brought forth.

    Maybe we should keep our eyes open a little better to see what kind of environment God is working on.
       Could it be that when someone loses their job they are forced to understand dependence? 
       Could it be when someone is looking for a spouse they know better than anyone the     
       importance of love?

Get where I’m going here?  Let’s not be so quick to rush out of the pit of struggle without gleaning all that the Lord has for us.
                        We grow in the valley;
                                        We harvest in the valley, and get dirty,
but most of all we shine with riches that give the hilltop homes something to really look at.