Seeds already sown

And the LORD hardened the heart of Pharaoh king of Egypt, and he pursued the people of Israel while the people of Israel were going out defiantly. The Egyptians pursued them, all Pharaoh’s horses and chariots and his horsemen and his army, and overtook them encamped at the sea... ~ Exodus 14:8-9 ESV

Seeds were on my mind as I contemplated November during my cold, windy walks around the lake yesterday and again this morning. I looked around at the man-made objects, and the minimal preparations we humans now make for winter. We gather up some hoses, mulch our small gardens, and mow the grass one last time. There is no fuel laid by for winter, no pantry full of home-canned foods we raised up from the ground with our own two hands, no root cellar or ice house full of meat or produce stored carefully against the snowy days to come. Just a few cosmetic details done mostly to the exterior of our homes and grounds. And we continue to rush on at break-neck pace toward Thanksgiving...then Christmas...then Spring Break.

I have lived close to farmers for most of my life. Their life is predictable: turn the ground over as soon as it thaws in the spring, pick the rocks, fertilize the soil, sow the seeds. Watch the plants grow all summer: a brief rest, with the daily rhythms of turning out livestock, bringing livestock home to tend. Then the harvest: a brilliant flash of activity that continues dawn until well after dark in these days of headlights and engines. Preserving and selling the harvest; then tending the land and the seeds for the next season, the cold, life-destructive forces of the winter months. It is the visionary who is out planting when others are harvesting: winter wheat, late beans. Even the visionaries invest little into crops that defy winter. They are unpredictable.

Yet that is what we're called to be as Christians, isn't it? Visionaries? Planters who sow when all others are conserving. Farmers who trust in a high-risk crop because we are led by a Force more powerful than those of nature...the Ruler of all the other forces of nature? Certainly I am sowing seeds when the world around me screams for me to retreat, conserve, preserve, consolidate. I am throwing around seed with abandon. I am potentially wasting my resources. I don't see much sense in sleeping, whether I am tired or not; I don't care to sit on a couch watching TV, numbing my brain when I feel most called to sharpen it. My physical body is under attack, yet I refuse to build up walls to protect it. I trust God to protect it. I trust His power in my weakness. I will not bend to these aching knees; I will not succumb to the joylessness of conservation.

I also see that seeds long sown are lying dormant within me during this time of unexpected November. My health isn't great right now; but my spirit is. I watched this conundrum over and over on the transplant unit: those families who had a full field of seeds already sewn when the storm came watched peacefully as the water rushed over the landscape of their hearts; they were confident of the harvest to come, however lashed about by storms they were. There were families with nothing planted when the storm hit, and they mourned immediately for the loss of harvest they also knew was inevitable. And then there was a third class, the families God called out during the storm. They were out planting when everyone else was huddled inside: lashed about by rain and thunder and lightening, they were throwing seed into the fields anyway. Winter wheat, late beans. There are harvests to be gleaned when you are willing to risk everything for God!

I have felt an incredible sense of the Devil these past four days. In a time that I expected to feel the comfort of the angels, instead I became more aware than ever of the presence of the Enemy. At first, I struggled with fear. Listening to a visionary today, I was reminded that, however inevitable fear is, it is my choice how to respond. Do I close my eyes and step forward with faith, bridging the gap? Or do I take counsel from my fear?

I want to be a visionary, sowing winter wheat today in the November of cancer. I also look with confidence at the seeds I know God has already sown in me, those seeds waiting to burst in the warmth of the springtime that I know is just around the corner. I feel a sense that now is a time to quietly sow, head down, anticipating a harvest. I don't want to raise my arms defiantly, expecting God to heal me and help me, while Satan is arming himself to attack. I just want to step out on faith, regardless of the impending attack, the attack at which I am perhaps now at the center of.

Though the enemy comes in,
I will not be shaken

Though I may have fallen,
I will not stay down

You are my Sanctuary
I love Your sweet embrace
You are my Sanctuary
Hide me in the secret place

When I long for more of You
You're my revelation
Lord the softest whisper
brings the strength I need

~ unknown, Sanctuary