Sunday, May 1, 2011

Refining rocks

 See, I have refined you . . . I have tested you in the furnace of affliction.  – Isaiah 48:10 (NIV)
When we first moved to the country, we chose a section of the hayfield near our house to transform into a garden. Before we could plant any seeds, though, we had to prepare the ground. Besides making the soil loose and soft, working it with a plow, harrow, and tiller also brought the rocks to the surface.
Rocks make it harder for roots to grow. And without a root network that reaches deep into the ground, where water can be found, young plants cannot withstand long, dry spells. I wanted a bountiful, tasty harvest, so I spent hours, often under a hot sun, picking rocks.
When I was done, the garden looked great—until we tilled it again or until it rained.
“Where are those rocks coming from?” I asked my husband one day after a hard rain. “I thought I got all of them yesterday.”
“The rain brings the rocks to the surface,” he explained. “The harder the rain, the more rocks.”
We planted a garden on that plot of ground for 17 years and never ran out of rocks.
God works with me the same way. I am the soil. My faults, weaknesses and imperfections are the rocks that must be removed if my life is to be productive. Some of those rocks are easily seen, but others are buried deep and need the storms of life to bring them to the surface. Stubborn rocks of impatience, anger, envy, selfishness and bitterness seem to surface over and over again.
If I leave them there, they’ll stunt my growth and limit the harvest I long for. Removing them refines the soil of my soul so that when the long, hot, dry spells come, as they inevitably do, my spirit will not wither. Instead, nourished by roots grown deep and unhindered, I’ll continue to reach for the Son.
Thank you, God, for the storms of life that reveal the rocks that must be removed if I an to be fruitful for You. Amen.
Special-Tea: Read Mark 4:3-20

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