I want so badly for us to stop living with this perception that our isolation will end because our circumstances change. Our feelings of isolation and loneliness will only end when we learn to engage with the Lord in a way that leads to deeper intimacy with Him, and from that will flow an ability to engage in community in a way that is still reliant on the Lord to meet our needs.
In this episode, we'll continue talking about trusting Jesus and finding God faithful. Our conversations are based around my new book, Jesus by her Side: Finding the Nearness of God through the Eyes of the Women in the Gospels.
The thing about recognizing Jesus’ presence and faithfulness in our lives is that it is much easier to recognize when He does what we expect Him to do.
In this episode, we’re going to talk about a few more things that stand in the way of plowing up our ground and living in deeper intimacy and fellowship with the Lord. I’m going to call it, “Possessive Plow Syndrome.” These are places where we are holding the plow tightly, like we can do something in our own strength and still experience the power and presence of God in that place.
The Bible tells us that it’s God’s kindness that leads us to repentance. THat’s because repentance is intended to bring us back into an intimate fellowship with and enjoyment of the presence of the Lord Himself. When we respond to God’s conviction by turning back to Him rather than by running away from Him, we find that our relationship with Him is restored.
Throughout the previous episodes and in the coming ones, I refer to hearing God’s truth, receiving God’s healing, gaining God’s insights and wisdom. But in order to do that, we must be able to hear His voice and to recognize Him when He speaks.
That is what we are talking about today. We are talking about the reality that God still speaks, some of the main ways that He still speaks, and a few practices that I’ve found helpful in positioning myself to hear from and respond to Him.
These rocks get in the way of us receiving from the Lord all that He has for us. We cannot layer truths on top of these hurts because there isn’t any way for that truth to take root. These stones are only moved when we walk back over to them. We must place our hands on the rock-hard surface of our broken hearts and reach out in desperation for the hem of the Healer’s cloak.
The first practice of plowing that we’ll discuss is that of telling the Lord the whole truth. Jesus invites us into His presence and acknowledges our presence in His. “Who touched me?” He asked the woman in Mark 5:32, and she fell before Him and told Him the whole truth. Might we be bold enough to do the same?
Unplowed ground to the untrained eye always looks more pleasant!
Unplowed ground, however, isn’t prepared to sustain life. It isn’t prepared to receive from the Giver of Life. A good farmer knows that the condition of the soil is critical for the success of the crop.
In this episode, we’ll consider the state of the soil of our lives in light of the parable of the sower from Luke 8. Is our land packed hard with old habits, like a well-worn but infertile path? Are there rocks of disappointment, doubt, or disillusionment in these fields that need to be revisited and removed? Have thorns grown up and choked out the life that longs to live here?
Our Unplowed Ground—at least the way I’m defining it—are the parts of our lives that we are ignoring, that we are refusing to look at or deal with, that we are, inadvertently or intentionally, closing the Lord out of. They are parts of our hearts, our spirits, our lives that we have neglected. In many cases, what we have neglected is spending time with the Lord. But don’t you think for one second that what we’re going to do here is heap guilt and shame upon ourselves for forsaking the “quiet times” that we know we should be having.
In episode 2, we will explore the idea of Bible study and the reason that I think it is so important. I will share with you about my approach to Bible study and why I thinks it is worth you (and my!) time. The Scriptures are not the only place that the Lord reveals Himself, but they must be the primary place that we seek Him. Otherwise, we won’t know how to recognize Him in the other facets of our lives. We must believe what He has revealed about Himself in His written word in order to more clearly understand Who it is we approach.
Thank you for joining me here on this podcast! I hope and pray that this will be a place where you will be encouraged to know and recognize the presence of God in your actual life. So often, we are tempted to believe that, if our circumstances or lives were different, then we would be able to see and love and trust God more. But in my own life and in the lives that I’ve observed, God is faithful to show up right here in the days where we find ourselves, even when those days don’t hold what we had wanted or expected.