Sunday, July 10, 2016

Sometimes you have to stop!

Rock picking...a common summer job on the farm. If this is unfamiliar to you, it is what it says - we go up and down the rows of corn or beans and pick up the rocks. It's really not a terrible job, but it's not fun either. It can be hot and dusty, cold and windy. Sometimes the kids are crazy and others a bit grumpy. But often while I'm out there doing what I swore I'd never do as an adult when I was a kid, God speaks to my heart. The other day He did just that.

It was just our two little boys (4 and 6) and myself so we jumped in one ranger and headed off to do some work. At this age, they often start out enjoying it and love to show me how strong they are, but as we approached the top of the hill the excitement quickly faded. This field is bad, there are rocks everywhere and my little Jed was ready to quit before we even began. The work was a bit overwhelming and the process was a bit different than usual. Typically we can drive along, jump out when we see a rock, grab it and keep going, but this time we stopped, shut the ranger off and all unloaded. We picked rocks, filled buckets and seemed to get nowhere. Eventually though we'd clear about a 10 foot circle around the ranger so I'd pull it ahead, shut it off and start all over again.

After doing this about 4 or 5 times, I saw a correlation between this process and life. Often life is like our typical experience out in the field...we go along, do what we need to do and keep pressing on. But sometimes, things are different. Circumstances change and seasons end. God works and/or Satan attacks. In those moments, we need to do what the kids and I did - we just need to stop.

Maybe it's just for a moment when anger tempts you to explode or gossip entices you to talk. Sometimes it's for a day when life's been busy and the Sabbath comes. Yet others it can be for an extended period of time. Perhaps it's when grief overwhelms or God's sanctification demands.

Friend the rocks in that field really did leave us overwhelmed. It impacted attitudes, changed perspective and momentarily created feelings of hopelessness. 40 years of living has taught me life can do the same.

That day in the field it didn't make sense to do what we had always done...the approach just didn't work. Things had to change; we had to stop. Do you need to do the same?

Has life thrown you a curveball? Do circumstances have you down? Is God working in you before He can work through you? I don't know, but God does.

Stop for a moment and go to Him. Seek His direction. Humble yourself and submit to His plan. All the while remembering who He is - a good Father and a mighty God with the perfect plan and exact provisions. He knows what He is doing and will be faithful to complete the good work He has begun, but we need to stop long enough for Him to do it.

This isn't always easy I know. I can be tempted to respond just like my little boys did - "Let's just go home. There's too many rocks. We'll never get done. Can't Dad do it?"

Friend it's tempting and easy to grumble and complain, feel overwhelmed and distraught. The desire to quit is one we need to fight and the longing for someone else to do what we need to do is a thought we must release.

If the rocks in your life are immense and the speed is too fast, may this lesson from the farm provide insight. Sometimes we need to stop. Sometimes we need to say, "No." Always we need to trust. Constantly we must walk the path God has us on...sometimes it's just a bit rockier and slower journey than others.

May these words and truths bless your heart and feed your soul -

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28

"I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint." Jeremiah 31:25

"Do you not know? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint." Isaiah 40:28-31

Friend, I know this stopping is hard. Life is busy and schedules full. The world rushes on and we feel like we must too, but sometimes God has other plans - remember His ways are not our ways. Pushing pause and sitting in the stop has its place and purpose. We eventually finished the field and did what we initially thought we couldn't, but it only happened when we changed our plan.

This season, day or moment of stop may look different than you expected and may be something you'd never schedule, but trust the One who orders our days. He knows and He is always working...even when we're not!

Dear Heavenly Father, Lord sometimes life seems so demanding, there is always something I could be doing. Often I feel like it's more that I need to be doing. But You, my Creator, You know what You created me for and You alone will equip me to do what I need to do. Sometimes that doing is nothing more than simply stopping. Help me to do that when you command it. I want to come to You for rest and trust You will refresh. May I remember You are the One who never grows weary. Today help me stop and be still and know that YOU are God. In Jesus' Name I pray...Amen


  1. I'm a Mom who needs this reminder. Stop and enjoy the moment. Now to remember to do it. Thank you.

  2. I always stand amazed at how much work it takes to run a farm and what an "opportunity" it is to work together as a family, unlike any other career or calling. Your lessons from the farm bring spiritual truths live in such a beautiful way. I never knew that was part of farming. Yet I learned much more than that. And I have been pressing pause lately. It's hard, but it is good ... it feels good, it brings peace, it allows rest.