April showers bring May flowers, so they say. It’s that time of year in Texas when it rains almost every day–big, heavy rainstorms. The kind that takes the blossoms you patiently, yet desperately, waited for, and beats them off them without mercy. If the petals survive, the stalk is bent low to the ground. My growing-up family called these storms frog-stranglers. 😉 They are not a bad thing, though. All of the plants will grow beautiful blooms again in a few weeks.
But the grass doesn’t take that long. One day last week, as soon as my husband came home from work, he mowed the yard as short as the mower allowed. After a three-day beat-down, it needed to be mowed again!
When winter is over, we get a few showers that give us early spring flowers. But April rains replenish the dry, thirsty ground. God designed it this way.
The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. (Isaiah 55:10)
Water not only provides much needed hydration to the soil, it is the vehicle that transports all the nutrients from the soil through the root system, to the grass and flowers we see.
God uses His Word similarly in our lives.
It is the same with my word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it. (Isaiah 55:11)
Jesus told a large crowd …
A farmer went out to plant his seed. As he scattered it across his field, some seed fell on a footpath, where it was stepped on, and the birds ate it. Other seed fell among rocks. It began to grow, but the plant soon wilted and died for lack of moisture. Other seed fell among thorns that grew up with it and choked out the tender plants. Still other seed fell on fertile soil. This seed grew and produced a crop that was a hundred times as much as had been planted! (Luke 8:5-9)
Jesus explained that the seed represents the Word of God, and the soil represents the hearer’s heart. The seed that fell among the rocks did not get the water it needed to develop roots and thrive.
In Seeing What is Sacred, Ken Gire says,
What water is to the seed, the Spirit of God is to the Word of God. When the two come together in the human heart, a miracle happens. The seed springs to life … What can’t happen apart from Him is that seed germinating and growing within you into the fullness of Christ.1
The result we want from our time in God’s Word is to mature and thrive in our Christian life. To become all that God wants us to become. This is what Paul prayed for the Ephesian church:
I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God. (Ephesians 3:16-19)
The question is…
What is the condition of the soil of my heart?
I’d like to be able to say that the soil of my heart is always soft and moist, ready to receive the seed of God’s Word, springing up with lush foliage that never withers. But that’s not true. Some days my heart isn’t so soft. Instead, it’s kind of dry and crusty. Even though I may not feel like it, what my heart needs most is the pure, sweet Word of God. Sometimes it takes several days of consistent, quality time with the Lord for my heart to be pliable again. When it is, sweet fruit and lush foliage are abundant. Showers first, then flowers.
Oh, the joys of those who … delight in the law of the Lord, meditating on it day and night. They are like trees planted along the riverbank, bearing fruit each season. Their leaves never wither, and they prosper in all they do. (Psalm 1:1-3)
Image: Pixabay (schneeknirschen)
1Gire, Ken. “The Water of the Reflective Life.” In Seeing What Is Sacred, 61-62. Nashville, TN 37214: W Publishing Group, a Division of Thomas Nelson, 2006.