Welcome, my dears, to the halcyon days of an almost perfect summer. Despite the impending doom of climate change, forest fires burning on every side and the general muttering of malcontents over the heat, I’m sailing above all that. I’m reveling in this fine Alberta summer, which is pretty much idyllic in my books. Even the haze of smoke keeps the air deliciously warm and close without subjecting us to the sun’s full glare. The still of the night is, frankly, flawless.
And now, we’ve come to that delicious moment when almost everything has reached ripeness. Flowers are joyously exploding in blooming profusion; the vegetable patches burgeoning with prime produce. Greens, carrots, beans, beets, herbs and a myriad of other goodies present themselves with sweet generosity that restores your faith in the simple goodness of life.
It’s not always so easy to tell when other things in life have reached maturity, though, especially when it involves issues close to us. Knowing the best time to start a business, go to school, make a move or commit to other major life changes involves a multitude of considerations. You need good timing, though, as derailed celebrations through a year and a half of Covid shut-downs can attest.
Try though we might, no amount of training, networking, experience or just plain good luck can insure the projected outcome. So many things can derail a process that should end favorably. Even when the odds are good, and technically, all the pieces are in place, the whole thing can still go pear-shaped without warning. Plans, dreams, ambitions and achievements never come to full fruition. That alone should be sufficient evidence that we live in a world with not merely physical components, but unseen spiritual ones.
There is no king saved by the multitude of a host: a mighty man is not delivered by much strength. A horse is a vain thing for safety: neither shall he deliver any by his great strength. Psalm 33:16-18
While there is a degree of satisfaction, gratification and growth in character which comes from following the beaten world path, seeking the Lord’s way in our lives alone brings spiritual maturity. He has destiny for every soul He created. The wonderful joys of triumph that come when we honor His plans and timing cannot be duplicated any other way. He makes everything beautiful in His time (Ecclesiastes 3:11). In partnership with the Spirit, every aspect of our lives is promised to come to fulfillment. Not only that, when we reach old age, believers will be lush and juicy because we’ve ripened properly in the aging process. It’s really discipline and devotion that makes the latter days both sweeter and greater.
Not only is it hard to see things ripen properly when you’re relying on fickle carnal standards and schemes, you may not even recognize when opportunities are truly ripe. Situations that hold hidden gold merely seem vexatious. Unrequested benefits are dismissed as obstacles in the path. If you’ve ever waited for fruit to ripen, and then forgotten about it, you’ll know how easy it is to misjudge readiness. Fully ripe borders closely upon rotten. Cut it open and you’ll find the fruit you panted for has already turned. You’ve missed your moment, and wasted precious resources. It takes listening to the Lord, and the eyes of the Spirit to discern what does not look propitious on the surface. Believers trust the Lord to judge ripeness. There is very specific fruit He is waiting for.
And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest of the earth is ripe. Revelation 14:15
Intriguingly, one of the Greek words for “ripe” found here actually means “waterless, or desiccated: to wither, waste or pine away”. As wheat is judged ripe for harvest when all moisture is removed, so specific situations become ready for divine intervention when all human hope is gone. The Lord is waiting for things to be thoroughly dead before He acts.
I wonder if we might be sitting in this very moment. After Covid, nations are economically devastated, wearied by unrelenting threat and restrictions imposed. Faith in governments, religious institutions, worldly bastions has withered away. Like a scorching sun, the continuous blast of the Internet and media has dried up the last of our strength. We are most thoroughly exhausted, disillusioned, cynical.
It may not seem like it from our point of view, but conditions are ripe for revival. What will the Lord do with this unprecedented moment?
But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest is come. Mark 4:29
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