Devotional for Wednesday, December 30
I’ve been at my parents this week relaxing on vacation. My parents live in the country, surrounded by tree-lined fields. It’s quite beautiful, especially for someone who loves big, open spaces! We had been sitting around watching lots and lots of movies and I decided I needed to get moving and take a walk. So, I bundled up as best I could to ward off the 28-degree wind (as the Danes say…there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothing!) and I took off down the two-lane road. Despite being on vacation, I was having a hard time relaxing and felt pretty anxious for reasons I knew not! I started to pray, or started to talk aloud really, to the Lord about what was on my mind in hopes that some clarity might come from just hearing the words that were in my own heart as the Lord accompanied me on my walk. God began to draw my attention up from the road in front of me up to what was surrounding me. As a result, despite the cold, I saw such beautiful things – ice sparkling in the sun, a mostly blue sky even though it was mottled with gray clouds, and a cluster of my favorite kind of tall, skinny evergreen trees. As I came up on another field, it struck me how brown and devoid of any growth it was. Not to be a downer, but sometimes that’s what the heart feels like inside! Because of stress, or trauma, or anxiety. But as I continued to look at the field, the word “fallow” popped up in my memory, and I was reminded of a time I learned about fallow fields, and how farmers sometimes leave their fields fallow – let them go without sowing – for a season or more in order to allow the soil to recover and to restore nutrients. Leaving fields fallow also allows them a break from pathogens, as they don’t have much to cling to! And lastly, fallow fields can become a haven for wildlife. How beautiful. How might the Lord be asking me to refrain from work, from sowing, from toil, and instead allow recovery and rest, rejuvenation and divine providence? I know that this word was for me, but if it is for any of you as well, I will be glad to have shared it.
A few verses for your reflection:
But during the seventh year let the land lie unplowed and unused. Then the poor among your people may get food from it, and the wild animals may eat what is left. Do the same with your vineyard and your olive grove.
Unless the Lord builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the Lord watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
2 In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.