When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually?
~ Isaiah 28:24
One day in early summer I walked past a lovely meadow. The grass was as soft, thick, and beautiful as an immense green rug. At one end of the meadow stood a fine old tree that served as a sanctuary for countless wild birds, whose happy songs seemed to fill the crisp, sweet air. I saw two cows who lay in the shade as the very picture of contentment. And down by the road, eye-catching dandelions mingled their gold with the royal purple of the wild violets. I leaned against the fence for a long time, feasting my hungry eyes and thinking in my soul that God never made a more beautiful place than this lovely meadow.
The next day I passed that way again, and to my great dismay, the hand of the destroyer had been there. A farmer with a large tractor, which was now sitting idle in the meadow, had in one day inflicted terrible devastation. Instead of seeing the soft, green grass, I now saw the ugly, bare, and brown earth. Gone were the dandelions and the pretty violets. And instead of the multitude of singing birds, there were now only a few, who were industriously scratching the ground for worms. In my grief I said, “How could anyone spoil something so beautiful?”
Then suddenly my eyes were opened, as if by some unseen hand, and I saw a vision. The vision was that of a field of ripe corn, ready for harvest. I could see the giant, heavily laden stalks in the autumn sun, and I could almost hear the music of the wind as it swept across the golden tassels. And before I realized it, the bare earth took on a splendor it did not have the day before.
Oh, if only we would always catch the vision of the abundant harvest when the great Master Farmer comes, as He often does, to plow through our very souls — uprooting and turning under that which we thought most beautiful and leaving only the bare and the unlovely before our agonizing eyes.
Lord, let me remember that suffering is preparation for great glory. Amen.
~ from “Streams in the Desert” by L. B. E. Cowman