What It Takes To Reap a Harvest

(Soil of the Heart: Part Four)

I am a quitter by nature.

It’s been true of me from the beginning, and it’s true of me still.

In my early years, my parents practically had to glue me to the seat to finish a board game I wasn’t winning.

After the first day of middle school musical auditions, I told my mom I wasn’t going back because they were definitely not going to give me a part (and I ended up with a good one!).

And honestly, my heart has longed to quit this “blogging” thing more than once for reasons so unspiritual that I would be ashamed to share.

“Give up” is my heart’s default solution to almost every single problem or challenge I face.

For some reason, when we encounter resistance, we internalize it as God’s rejection of our requests, His saying “no” to the prayers we have prayed for our lives.

However, giving up is evidence that we misunderstand faith and the way that God works. God uses circumstantial resistance to bolster our spiritual resilience.

Jesus characterized the fourth and final ground as the “good” soil, which “yield[ed] a crop, a hundred times more than what was sown.” He explained that “the good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.

Honestly, that last part is the last thing I wanted to read.

persevere: to continue doing or trying to do something even though it is difficult

Typing that was almost as painful as doing it.

I don’t want to do difficult things.

I like easy things.

I am quick to quit because quitting requires no effort.

Jesus made it clear that even the rocky and thorny ground can see a sprout of spiritual growth, but only with perseverance will there be anything to harvest.

Galatians 6:9 says it this way: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

The promise is a harvest, but embedded in that promise is the condition is that we must not give up (cue loud exhale of exasperation by all of us waiting on a promise to be fulfilled).

Perhaps we miss out on so many miraculous harvests because we throw in the towel too soon- giving up hope, walking away, or simply making our own way instead of waiting on His.

God’s timing in my life has rarely corresponded with the dates I carved out on my calendar as a suggestion to God.

But over the years, I’ve learned the value of His timing.

If God gave us His promises instantaneously, we would be left unchanged. We’d have good things in our hands, but our hearts would not be like the good soil.

James 1:4 says that perseverance makes us mature and complete, lacking nothing.

Perseverance is a necessary part of the journey because perseverance perfects us.

Tending to a seed even when there’s little to show for the work we’ve already done does something in the soul. Fortifies it. Strengthens it. Releases it.

As we persevere, we break free from the chain of unbelief, enabling ourselves to walk by faith and not base our beliefs on what we can see.

By persevering, we embrace patience, becoming content with God’s presence even in the midst of unrealized promises.

And persevering musters a hopefulness in us, an expectancy that good is on the way because God’s Word promises it is.

God doesn’t need us to persevere because He needs more time to work out the circumstances. There is a “proper time for reaping” because God desires to perfect us along the way. Perseverance opens our hearts to experience God’s perfecting work, His ripening us and making us fruitful.

Sometimes, the spiritual opportunity of today is simply to keep going.

As we keep going, God keeps working, always in us before He works around us and through us.

As we ask God to make our hearts like the good soil, let’s not despise the fact that perseverance is an integral part of the process.

Like a farmer, we can joyfully persevere because we know that the harvest is coming. We can trust that as we faithfully tend to the seed, God will make it grow.

Persist in tilling the soil of your heart, keeping it open and humble to receive the Word.

Keep allowing truth to develop roots in your everyday moments.

Continue to do the difficult work of uprooting the competing cares in your heart.

And persevere until you see the harvest for which you labor.

Father, we trust that You are faithful to complete the work You have begun in us. We will wait eagerly for the harvest of promise, but help us to find joy in the process of persevering. God, I will wait for the proper time because I know it is really the perfect time, an intersection of Your divine power and presence and the details of my circumstances. May the soil of my heart ever be hospitable to the imperishable seed of Your Word.