emilynisch

If we do not give up

In Uncategorized on March 31, 2009 at 1:51 am

Today I read this verse:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)

The part that struck me was: “if we do not give up”. I’m reminded that we can never tell what’s happening in places we can’t see – which is where God works. Underground (where the seed is), in unexpected places, at unexpected times. We never know what he’s doing. After all, God says: “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:9) The reason to not give up is that we have no idea what’s going on. We shouldn’t give up because we know we planted seeds – but we don’t know how long we’re going to wait for them to take root and grow up out of the soil and slowly, slowly, slowly bear fruit. We need to 1. expect to see the fruit of our planting until it actually happens, and 2. continue planing so that we don’t get discouraged and idle and so that we have a huge harvest when the time comes. Who knows, a seed that we plant now may grow much faster than a seed we planted many years ago – who can tell? Only God.

When I looked up the Isaiah passage I was in for a pleasant surprise. The following verses fit with the meaning I just saw in the Galatians verse. Here they are:

10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,

11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

I think God is reminding us that things work in ways that we can’t understand, but his word always accomplishes what it was spoken for. This is the one thing we can count on, and one of the things that motivates us to “continue to do good” as we wait to see our seeds grow.

The rest of the Isaiah chapter is also insightful in this area:

12 You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
will clap their hands.

13 Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree,
and instead of briers the myrtle will grow.
This will be for the LORD’s renown,
for an everlasting sign,
which will not be destroyed.”

God reassures and comforts us with the good things ahead because he knows that it’s hard to wait while living in the briars and thornbushes of right now. The whole reason we plant seeds in our lives, the lives of others and the world at large is because things are terrible. We want them to change. We want God’s goodness where there’s only sadness, brokenness and all the other things that sin has twisted in this world. Someone recently reminded me of this verse: “Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2). What enabled Jesus to walk through everything he suffered in his life was all the joyful things that he would gain if he succeeded. These sections in Isaiah and Galatians speak to the same idea: it is the looking forward to all of the good God has that causes us to hope at all, to rejoice now.

As Paul says, “But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith…. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:12-19) (Italics mine)

We are not supposed to just push through now because that’s what God wants. We are supposed to plant now in faith knowing that we will recieve joy and much more that we can imagine in the right time, because God has promised it. This is what we wait for.

You will go out in joy
and be led forth in peace;
the mountains and hills
will burst into song before you,
and all the trees of the field
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