If I were to take a step back and look at my life, I would see the interworkings of a clock. Each part, moving in sync with every other part, going around in circles, to keep things running just as they always have. And while the purpose of a clock is to help me mark time and make forward progress, the idea of clockwork in my life is nothing more than a vicious cycle of the same things over, and over, and over again.
A few days ago I read the Parable of the Seed Sower with the different types of soil. As much as it pains me to admit it, I have all 4 types in my personal little garden, and the fertile one probably occupies the smallest plot. It's not that I want it to be that way, but I often get distracted, disillusioned, or disengaged from what God is working to accomplish for one reason or another and therefore, just like the clock, things keep moving along without going anywhere, the same as they always have.
There is a part of me that thinks I've been subconsciously aware of this faulty behavior for awhile but until I started writing, and really thinking about what I'm reading with great intention and deliberate attention to what it means, I think those little seeds have sprouted quick and then died even quicker. But yesterday something happened that woke me up to this in a particular area of my life that made me see that God was going beyond out of His way to get my attention. It was almost as if He was saying, "Enough is enough. We are doing this now, like it or not."
While the matter is personal, I will share at least this much. The Hebrew transliteration of the word that caught my attention has significant personal meaning. And in case I was questioning the validity of what I thought God was trying to tell me, the number of times it is used sealed the deal. #Nickname #Birthday
And so this morning, as I woke to do my quiet time, not only did I read Isaiah 43:19 about forgetting the former things and seeing the new things but I also had to read Isaiah 5 about how God has given us everything needed to have a fertile vineyard, yet horrible grapes are being produced. Clearly, I had to know what would cause the bad grapes and so I started with Isaiah 1 and found the clock I was looking for: rebellion, forsaking the Lord, and backs turned on Him. And because He often feels a need to keep it coming with me because He knows I am thicker than the fleece Gideon put on the ground, He pointed out the injured head, the afflicted heart, the lack of soundness from head to toe, the wounds, welts, and open sores that are not cleansed, bandaged, or soothed with oil because.....you guessed it: rebellion, forsaking the Lord, and a back turned on Him. (On a side note, if you read Breathe, you will understand why the Isaiah verse was so profound.)
And so here I am at a crossroads ready to make a decision that will determine the story I tell about my life tomorrow. Will it be one of a vineyard that floursishes under the great care of the vinedresser or will it be one of someone who attempted to care for the grounds alone? It seems to me that the smart choice is to take back the fertile hillside, allow the stones to be cleared, let the choicest of vines be planted, to allow the Watchtower to fulfill its purpose uninhibited, and to let the Winepress do its job to get the full, fragrant sweetness that comes from the pressure needed to get to the good stuff. And with the grace of God, perhaps this will be the glass that is poured for me at the marriage supper of the Lamb.
God, I will never understand why on this earth You put up with me. All I can say is that it must be love. And if You are putting this much effort into getting my attention then the only response I can have is to be a living sacrifice that does things Your way. You're telling me that it's only when I am willing and obedient that I can be made white as snow and will be given the good things of the land to eat. So I humbly ask You to bend me to Your will and Your ways and to let the story my life tells be the one You wrote and planned before I was born. Amen.