Day 23 | Plate 22 Of so many different domains, the noble work of sowing in hostile land.
He turns rivers into a desert, springs of water into thirsty ground, a fruitful land into a salty waste, because of the evil of its inhabitants.
He turns a desert into pools of water, a parched land into springs of water.
And there he lets the hungry dwell, and they establish a city to live in; they sow fields and plant vineyards and get a fruitful yield.
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Unless God himself prepares the place for us, as he did Eden, and is now preparing in his Father’s mansion, God swore that our relationship with the earth would be strained.
In this scene, the sower and his house are lean and simple. Both reveal a life of subsistence. Work is a means for survival; nothing more than a means to live another day and a chance to collect more memories of God’s goodness.
He has known sadness, doubt and fear. He has watched his seeds wither and burn. He’s awoken to see the spores of some pestilence quickly wilting his field. He’s heard the ravaging beasts pillage his field during the night. He has lain in bed, too sick to crawl and gather the ripening fruit before it fell to the swirling pests. He’s doubted he has what it takes.
The weatherbeaten farmer has suffered, but the void it has etched in his soul is also reservoir for delight. For the fruits of each harvest have become the symbol of his celebration. Beyond sustaining the life of his household, they punctuate each rolling year as memorials of God’s enduring fidelity.
He has paced his field many times, and he knows where the stones lie embedded and where the fertile patches are. Each season, he carves the soil and watches the earth envelope the seeds. He waits long days, and when the rain comes, he bursts from is hut dancing as David before God. The tender plants join his dance in the rain, drinking deep of the dew of heaven and shining in their emerald way as Moses did after his descents from Sinai.
Like the farmer, wherever we go, the harvests we long for will only come after our anticipation and disillusionment, education and forgetfulness; joy and grief. Often, the greatest harvests will come to the most diligent farmers, but not always. Whatever the work he has given us, the harvest is a gift from his hands. Each is a miracle.
The harvests are our manna along our desert wandering until we reach the mountain of God, adorned in His holiness, and finally ascend to his everlasting embrace. Only then, we will want no more.