There is nothing in our life that is, or should be, separated from God. Yet sometimes I assume I have dug up, chased down, gathered, sorted, made sense, and painstakingly grasped, information about something I needed or desired to learn. It is easier to go it “alone” these days. We have the Internet. We have YouTube. Literally, teachers and lessons at our fingertips. I was intrigued by Aidan Bryant, a self-taught 17-year-old aerialist who placed second in America’s Got Talent this season. He mastered his craft by hanging bedsheets in a tree and practicing what he watched on YouTube videos. Impressive, don’t you think?
Then during my morning devotions, as I read through chapters in the book of Isaiah, these words capture my attention: “it is God who gives us understanding.” God gave Aidan his video lessons and the understanding he needed to hone his skills.
In Isaiah 28:23-29 we are told the farmer knows when to plow and when to sow; how to cultivate the soil and properly plant each seed in the proper place; what to do after harvest so what is grown can be used. Isaiah explains that black cumin must be beaten with a light stick, not threshed with a heavy sledge. Cumin is beaten lightly with a flail and a threshing wheel is never rolled over it. Grain for bread is easily crushed so the farmer doesn’t keep pounding it. Instead, he threshes it under the wheels of a cart, careful not to pulverize it.
I pause to consider this information and ask you to contemplate it as well.
Whenever we enter a situation without the proper instruction the results are at risk of ruin. While ruin may be a bit dramatic, we can at least agree it will not be the very best.
The past few summers I have put a lot of work into finishing two wooden Adirondack chairs I purchased several years ago for my yard. I stained them when they were new, but the summer sun, and rain during thunder and lightening storms, soon wore the finish. So, I decided to paint them and put a lacquer over the paint to protect it. Well, the paint started peeling. A friend explained that for the paint to stick I must use a primer. So next summer I will strip the chairs and repaint with a coat of primer first. I think about how the farmer knows the steps for properly preparing the soil as well as the proper way to plant each seed.
This lesson easily transfers to our relationships with the people God places in our path. He gives us instructions on how to interact in a multitude of situations. Just this morning, as I read chapter 3 of Colossians, I noted these instructions: “Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. [Col 3:13 NLT]
Lately, the Lord has been teaching me about “making allowance for other’s faults,” or considering their ingrained coping mechanisms, areas of struggle, and worldly patterns that have not yet been transformed. Therefore, I am not surprised the Lord would offer an element of understanding on this issue as I read Scripture.
God also tells us not all people can be approached in the same way. Some brothers and sisters in Christ may be weak in their faith, or timid, or fearful. Therefore, we consider their emotional state just as the farmer considers the crop during harvest. Like some crops, people we interact with may require a light touch.
So, when I face the unknown, my first step should not be Google. My go-to in everything must be God alone. I must approach Him with trust that He will point me to any books, videos, or classes I may need for further instruction… even if I should decide to string bedsheets in the trees to become an aerialist.
Contemplate Your Ways:
1- What is your “go to” when you are trying to learn something new?
2-In what areas of learning do you need increased understanding? How might you seek the Lord for understanding?