Wonder in Provision

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Devotional Word for Thursday, May 7, 2020

As I write this little devotional meditation, I don’t know where you are or what it is like when you read it. For me, this is a brilliant morning. The sky is completely clear, the sun is shining, and the air is exhilarating. It’s May! That means farmers throughout the northern hemisphere are working hard with great expectations. They are tilling the soil and planting the seeds that will yield the food that will feed the world. I come from a rural background and May mornings like this meant that soon I’d hear the pop-pop-pop, pop-pop-pop of Marlin Silke’s John Deere tractor as he tilled the soil and planted the seeds that would yield the food that would feed the world. 

How does that work anyway? Only the gospel of Mark records a parable Jesus told about the farmer reflecting on the seed he sows and what comes from it. It’s in Mark 4:27-28. Jesus says the man sows the seed and he goes to bed at night and gets up by day, and the seed sprouts and grows – how, he himself does not know. The soil produces crops by itself; first the blade, then the head, then the mature grain in the head. 

Do you hear the tone of wonderment in those words? You should. Jesus emphasizes it. He says the farmer doesn’t know how what happens to those little seeds happens! I’m reminded of a time I was riding in the cab of big tractor with Roger Bluhm, a farmer in the church where I was pastor. Roger was a godly man. It was May and he was planting a field of corn. He told me, “Pastor John, I come out here and I do the plowing and the discing and the planting. Then, before I leave, I pray and tell the Lord I’ve done all I can. I now leave the rest in His hands.” 

It’s been over 40 years since Roger told me that. He’s long since dead, enjoying the bliss of Paradise, but I’ve never forgotten his sense of wonder at and dependence upon God. Roger was a smart man. He knew all the biological facts about seeds and their growth. He was astutely aware of the agronomy factors involved in growing crops. He was not ill-informed or uninformed. But he lived in conscious wonder at and dependence upon God! His familiarity with farming; his prowess in planting and reaping – and he did reap; Roger was not a poor man! – all of his expertise did not result in an arrogant, self-sufficient attitude. He was humbly, gladly dependent on God. 

It is May. Farmers throughout the northern hemisphere are busily tilling the soil and planting the seeds that will yield the food that will feed the world. You and I are dependent on them. They are dependent on God. That means you and I are dependent on God. May we be humbly and gladly dependent on Him. We need to thank God for farmers and pray He would grant success to their labors. We need to pray for their protection as they go about their work. We need to ask the Holy Spirit to grant us that sense of wonderment at the way by which He has ordained for us to get our daily bread.

Psalm 65 has some verses that give voice to this sense of wonderment and dependence. We can read them and allow them to be the conduit by which gain that sense of wonderment, and then give expression to our wonderment at God’s marvelous work. Here are verses 9, 10, and 13 from that Psalm: You [God] visit the earth and cause it to overflow; You greatly enrich it; The stream of God is full of water; You prepare their grain, for thus You prepare the earth. You water its furrows abundantly, You settle its ridges, You soften it with showers, You bless its growth. . . . The meadows are clothed with flocks, And the valleys are covered with grain; They shout for joy, yes, they sing.

It’s May. May we hear the singing of God’s bountiful creation as each of us go about our assigned tasks this day and each day. This is our Father’s world.

Let us pray: Almighty God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – thank You for the world You have created. We see it. We study it. We live in it. Yet we cannot fathom all the depths of it. How marvelously it all fits together. Give us this day our daily bread, allot to us the wonderment of glimpsing Your glory in the world around us. As you make the land fruitful, so make our lives fruitful for You. We pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.