It’s my habit to walk the dogs early in the morning. We’re lucky in that just around the corner is a public footpath running across farmland and countryside, which makes it an ideal destination for our dawn stroll. I really enjoy being out as the world is waking and coming to life with the birds singing their hearts out as the sun slowly rises.
I have several routes I take, but at some point in all of these I walk around the edge of a couple of fields where the farmer has planted his summer crops - wheat, I think. It’s growing well now and you can almost see daily how the stalks are edging up further and further. Some of these routes are popular with other walkers and paths have been formed as the clay soil has become compacted. Whilst there are a few plants which have managed to struggled to survive, generally, the paths are now hard and smooth and bare with cracks forming as the recent rain has been so light. Can you imagine that in your minds eye? The farmers seed which was spread onto t
he path has, indeed, fallen on stony ground.
I’ve been thinking a lot about those paths and the crops recently. As I walk, I have a kind of quiet time with God and I offer up to him my random prayers and concerns and praise. God talks back to me sometimes, not though - as we’ve said before, with an audible voice, but in thoughts and impressions in my mind. And God spoke to me about the paths. It’s coincided with me trying to grow grass on the lawn at home after winter punishment from the dogs.
Not all the grass seed I’ve sown (well scattered) is germinating, as like the farmers paths, the ground is too hard. I’ve been a poor gardener and decided not to dig up the bare soil areas. It seemed likely to me that the seed would germinate and he grass grow quickly if I just let if fall on the earth . It hasn’t.
God explained to me that sometimes growth, and receipt of his blessings, need us to prepare areas of our lives which are hardened and unreceptive - perhaps not because of a deliberate intention on our part, but hardened through neglect and pressures. Parts of our lives can become like those trodden paths in the farmers field. Blessings, growth and Gods working may not produce fruit or bring about change, simply because areas of our hearts are hardened.
God reminded me of the instruction he gave through the prophet Hosea. “Sow for yourselves righteousness, reap the fruit of unfailing love, and break up your un-ploughed ground; for it is time to seek the Lord, until he comes and showers righteousness on you”.
As I’ve been walking God’s been prompting me. Plough. Allow him to work. Somehow I think this is a ploughing season for us all.