But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13b-14 ESV
Yesterday we looked at remembering, but today’s verse talks about forgetting what lies behind and taking hold of what is ahead. When we were small children, life was simple. We didn’t decide where to live, what to eat or what to wear. But even those of us who had wonderful childhoods were not satisfied. We wanted to become teen-agers! For me, that meant giving away my baseball cards, Roy Rogers cap gun and army men. I wanted to be cool! Strangely enough, as a teen I discovered that I was not happy. My parents were still in charge and were concerned about boring things, like grades and keeping my room clean. I wanted to be treated like an adult! But after moving out on my own I found out that along with freedom came bills, college professors who demanded assignments on time and police officers who pulled me over for speeding. On top of the unexpected disappointments of young adulthood came a deep loneliness. I had forgotten my past completely, but in the wrong kind of way and found myself clinging onto the steering wheel of life with no idea of where I was going. And then Jesus came – though to be clear, Jesus had been there all along, I just didn’t know. Then I had a choice. I could keep holding on to my steering wheel, or I could let it go and take hold of Him. How glad I am that I let go and then He took hold of me. Is anything that you are clinging to that is keeping you from taking the hand of Jesus? Don’t be afraid. It will be so worth it all to forget and let go but only you can decide. What is your answer to Him?
But the Lord was with Joseph and showed him mercy and He gave him favor in the sight of the keeper of the prison. And the keeper of the prison committed to Joseph’s hand all the prisoners who werein the prison whatever they did there it was his doing. Genesis 39:21-22
My wife and I are somewhat addicted to HGTV home remodeling shows. We enjoy watching while either the Property Brothers; Rick and Joanna Gaines or Hillary Farr rip to shreds and then rebuild old worn out houses and make them into someone’s dream home! Have you ever noticed that construction zones and demolition zones seem very much alike? Maybe that’s because both involve some smashing down and some digging up that are equally painful. Recently we experienced lots of digging up, filling in and then digging up and filling in again of several large pipes under our street. The issues were complex and the rerouting didn’t work the first second or even third time. One night they were smashing and pounding till 11 o’clock. My response to waking up to the racket was to put my jacket on over my pj’s and march indignantly down the street to complain.
The tired foreman of the job took off his hardhat and politely answered that they couldn’t wait to go home either but they had to finish before they were allowed to quit. Sheepishly I went home realizing that I was not the only one who wished the work was done. In Joseph’s life he also passed through a construction zone when he was unjustly thrown into prison. Unlike me, Joseph was patient and continued to listen rather than complain. The heavy construction that God was doing in his life became a season of blessing and growth because Joseph chose to listen.
On those occasions where I have followed Joseph’s example and tuned my ears to listen I have discovered as he did that it is God who is at work digging and pounding and He won’t stop till He has finished! God’s promises are real. He hasn’t abandoned us or forgotten the dream which He sent. In fact the painful circumstances which we are in today are what God is using to build the spiritual dream home which He has prepared for us in eternity!
Sow to yourselves in righteousness, reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground: for it is time to seek the Lord, till he come and rain righteousness upon you. Hosea 10:12 KJV
“Fallow comes from the old English word for plowing, and refers to the practice of leaving fields unplowed in rotation––when a field lies fallow, the soil regains nutrients that are sucked up by over-planting.” Vocabulary.com
One temptation I face as I grow older is to abandon some of the fields in my life. There are some fields that have so long been unproductive that it scarcely seems worth the effort to continue to hope for any sort of fruitful harvest. But God has an entirely different idea. God says that today is the exact perfect time to stop moping around the house, get the plow out of the barn and break up my fallow ground.
Do you have some fallow fields in your life? There is nothing wrong with that but God has not created us to lie fallow forever. Maybe today your fallow time is coming to an end. Maybe it is time to hitch up the plow to the horse and get to work. There is still something that God has called for us to do. Do not be discouraged. Nothing will grow better crops than a field that has had time to rest for a while. God has planned for and promised a harvest season ahead if only we plow up our fallow fields and then plant them today!