The Old Testament is always a little harder for me to comprehend. I am not sure if it is the words used or the harsher tone that seems to fill its pages. But it certainly appears there is more fear and wrath in the Old Testament and love and forgiveness in the New. As a result, I prefer the New, but strive to understand the Old. Today the Bible opened up in Isaiah:
Give ear and hear my voice, pay attention and hear my word:
Is the plowman forever plowing in order to sow, always loosening and harrowing the field? When he has leveled the surface, does he not scatter caraway and sow cumin, Put in wheat and barley, with spelt as its border? His God has taught him this rule, he has instructed him. For caraway is not threshed with a sledge, nor does a cartwheel roll over cumin. But caraway is beaten out with a staff, and cumin with a rod. Grain is crushed for bread, but not forever; though he thresh it thoroughly, and drive his cartwheel and horses over it, he does not pulverize it. This too comes from the LORD of hosts; wonderful is his counsel and great his wisdom.
I am not a farmer. And not a scholar of the Old Testament. I am not positive what this is supposed to mean, but here is what it is saying to me tonight. I assume God is the plowman. He has first leveled the surface — we are all on equal footing in His eyes. We all have an equal opportunity to grow. But we are all different. We all have different needs and different paths (hopefully paths to God). And the path is not easy. We may be threshed, or beaten or rolled over with a cart, but we are not destroyed. We are being cultivated, and nurtured. It is only through these hardships that we grow to our full potential. Like the plowman, God wants us to grow.
Your plan does not always make sense to me. Sometimes I feel like I have been beaten down or even rolled over by a cart. Looking back, I know this is necessary for me to grow. But I still balk at the process. Help me to recognize the bumps in the road as the opportunities that they are. Help me to help others see this too. Help us to trust that you will not allow us to be pulverized and to recognize how good your plan is. Thank you for taking care of each of us and providing us with a path designed just for us. You have provided us with fertile ground, help us to continue to grow.