I just returned from seeing my family in Montana. My brothers are third generation dry-land farmers. Each year my dad and brothers have done everything they could to help their land produce the highest yield possible.
The problem is, they can do everything possible to care of the land, but if it doesn’t rain, the crop will suffer.
Like past years, my brother has worked hard; he’s sprayed the weeds and fertilized the soil.
As a farmer’s daughter, one of my favorite parables has always been John 15 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener.” In spite of their dedication and the richness of the soil, when it doesn’t rain, the crop is poor. He may have gotten discouraged at times, but that hasn’t stopped him from working the land.
This year when we visited, excitement was in the air because the land has gotten enough rain to produce a bumper crop. The best my 83 year old mother has ever seen!
As a Christian, God has prevented some of the good things I’ve wanted to happen, because He wanted to produce something greater. When that happens, discouragement rears its ugly head and has the potential to crush my vision. For instance, when I was a junior in college, I was so tired on Christmas break and then I got my grades and I burst into tears. My mother said, “Why don’t you quit?” Her idea of quitting was appealing, but it would have left a sour taste in my mouth.
I thought getting A’s and B’s would honor God, but it also would have given me a sense of pride. Pride can be like a weed, which chokes out humility and reliance on God. Like my brother has done everything he could do to help our farm produce a bumper crop, I had to let God cultivate a deeper relationship with Him. After I surrender to Him, and rested and encouraged by my friends, I returned to college with my eyes fixed on my goal of graduation.
My tears turned to giggles as I staggered toward my college president to receive my diploma. As many people stood and applauded my accomplishment I celebrated what God had helped me do.
When I get discouraged because my efforts are not producing the results I want, I usually discover I have a loose connection. Once I come into alignment with Him, I have joy in my heart and He can work through me!