There is a song on Christian radio right now called “Beyond Me” by the artist Toby Mac. The opening lyrics go like this…
Call it a reason to retreat
I got some dreams that are bigger than me
I might be outmatched, outsized, the underdog in the fight of my life
Is it so crazy to believe
That You gave me the stars put them out of my reach
Called me to waters a little too deep
Oh, I’ve never been so aware of my need
You keep on making me see
It’s way beyond me
This song is my life right now. My head is barely above water and I am doggy-paddling just as fast as I can. I’m pretty sure my head has actually dipped below the surface a time or two lately. But I’m still here, paddling away.
This thing God has asked me to do (going to seminary while being a full-time mom of three just to fill you in, in case you are new around here) is HARD!!! Harder than I EVER thought it would be. I am just over half way done and I am tired. Really, really tired. Tired of waking up early to study before anyone else is awake. Tired of reading endless number of pages. Tired of writing theology instead of what I want to be writing. Tired of missing time with my family and friends. Tired of the things my family has had to give up so I could go back to school. And I have caught myself thinking lately, “Life would be so much EASIER right now if I wasn’t being obedient!”
About that time this thought first occurred, I heard this song on the radio for the first time. I remember thinking really God? You intentionally gave me the stars but put them out of my reach? You called me to water just a little too deep for me to handle alone? And then clear as day, I heard him say, “Yes! Yes, I intentionally put you in a situation you could never survive on your own. Yes, I intentionally put you in a place where you would HAVE to rely on me!”
So I have been relying on him more. I am still waking up early, staying up late, reading books, writing papers, missing time with family and friends and I am still tired. But I am not doing it alone. I still crave the day when all this is behind me. When I have time again. I crave a season of rest.
Then just last week, God spoke again, this time with his Word instead of words. I was at an event where the speaker directed us to John 15, the story of the Vine and the Branches. And yes the idea of abiding in Christ to produce fruit for the kingdom is relevant to where I am at right now, but that wasn’t what struck me. What had me crying like a baby were the words hand-written at the top of my page, that I honestly have no recollection of ever writing. Written at the top of this page of my Bible are the words, “only 1 out of 4 season bear the visible fruit.” Let me walk you through why this was so powerful for me.
I am a small town, rural Kansas girl. My grandfather was a farmer, my dad worked for John Deere fixing tractors, our whole community pretty much revolved around the harvest season. There are traditionally four seasons of farming in Kansas, planting (spring), growing (summer), harvesting (fall), and laying fallow (winter). Of these four seasons there is only one in which the farmer “brings in the crop” so to speak – harvest time. It is also during this very intense season that the farmer goes through a season of little to no rest. He is up with the sun and works until dark, sometimes even later. During this season, no vacations are planned, (not even if you are not actually a farmer but your dad needs to be available at a moments notice to work through the night repairing a tractor that broke down), no family meals are eaten, no movies are seen. Time with family and friends are pushed aside. This season, and this season only, is NOT a season of rest. It is a season of incredibly hard work. It is a season of putting one foot in front of the other and getting done what needs to be done.
Have you been through a season like that? Are you experiencing that season now?
This is the season I’m in right now. Not because I am bringing in this ripe harvest of new believers, but because I am being obedient. And right now He is calling me to a season that is not a season of rest. But He is not asking me to do it alone. In fact He has arranged it so that I CAN’T do it alone! I have to rely on Him right now, I have no choice. And if you are in a season like this I encourage you to turn to Him too.
This isn’t a season of rest. This is a season of faith.
And I have faith in Him.