Over the past few weeks, we’ve looked at the Parable of the Growing Seed in Mark 4:26-29 as a lesson in how ministry grows. Any farmer will tell you that the result of the planting and tending of a crop is tenuous until the harvest is safely in. We’ve all seen images drought ruined corn and storm damaged fields.
On my way to work there is a small field of hay. The farmer has a pretty poor record of getting good hay baled. It seems that whenever he cuts the field, it brings rain. Here in the SW the rain is a welcome sight, but not for a farmer with hay cut on the ground. Cut hay that is rained on is ruined and pretty much only good to be used as straw. Whenever I drive by and see that this farmer has cut his hay, I start holding my breath, on his behalf, and looking at the sky for any threatening clouds.
It’s not like I can control the weather and keep it from raining on his field, but that doesn’t stop me from hoping he can get it dried and baled before it rains. That happens a lot in other areas of life. We are all guilty of trying to control things that are not even in our control. From little things like hoping the light will stay green to big things like trying to convince God that you HAVE to get a certain outcome from a prayer, we each try to manipulate the world around us and God.
Last month I had a week off, with nothing planned! It about drove me crazy until I realized that I have some definite ‘control issues’. Then I started thinking about what it means to be at ‘loose ends,’ ‘at the end of the rope,’ or ‘out of control’. All, at first glimpse are, to me, negative things. However, after a deeper look, I discovered that there are some real positives to these things. God is much more able to act when I am not controlling every little detail.
During the vacation time, we took a day to go fishing (well my husband fished, I wrote). We had to cut the day short due to the rain and hail. It was lovely to have the cooling rain, but disappointing to have to leave early. God was in control, though, and we got back to town early enough to enjoy the rain that followed us home instead of driving wet mountain roads in pouring rain.
This morning, a citation popped into my mind. “So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: 'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty.” Zechariah 4:6. It is a good reminder that no matter how wise or strong or powerful or great or talented we may be, it is truly only by the Spirit of God that we can do anything in and for the Kingdom of God.
There’s a little poem that explains that we have to really let God have our problems and let God be in charge of our ministries.
As children bring their broken toys with
tears for us to mend,
I brought my broken dreams to God because He is my friend.
But instead of leaving Him in peace to work alone,
I hung around and tried to help with ways that were my own.
At last I snatched them back and cried, "How can You be so slow?"
"My child," He said, "what could I do? You never let them go."
Like children, we can get inpatient with God and say “How can You be so slow [with X, Y, Z]” forgetting that God’s timing is perfect and God’s Spirit will bring all to fruition at the proper time.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be looking at some places where saints and heroes of the faith (like Joseph, Rahab, Moses, and many others) have had to “Let Go and Let God” when they found that their life was out of control. I think they might just have something to teach us about living our life today.