In a week of fireworks in all kinds of ways, there’s no doubt that we are living through historic days.
I mean, I’ve got no idea when somebody actually made the declaration that this whole shebang of these days are of historic proportions — I just know there’s a whole world of us living in uncharted territory this year.
Turns out that the spring rains and all the things started in March — they didn’t stop.
Come the first of July, the corn might be knee-high, even waist-high, but we’re all still in this downpour of all kinds of lockdowns, and economic storms, and a flood of surging pain.
But I watched the Farmer don a mask day after day this spring, determined to drown all fears in faith, and while we counted day after quarantine day of waiting for things to finally change, he kept planting and murmuring it day after day:
Nothing is lost in the waiting process —- because waiting is a growth process. Waiting is growing us.
Waiting is gestating a greater grace.
Longing is enlarging.
And we believed:
Hope for a window of opportunity for things to change, will let you see a land of opportunity.
When storms finally relents, when our window of opportunity to plant hope finally cracks open, all spring, the whole countryside was this exodus of tractors and planters moving out into the land.
Dust rolls like freedom rolls.
No matter what feels like it’s breaking or broken: We can shut down despair and we can break open to plant hope.
Living in the land of the hardworking brave looks like an exodus out of the land of fear to forge forward into the land of the faithful and free. Looking out across these fields, this land, to see a crop still rising in July after all the unparalleled storms we’ve all been through this year, that’s all I can see:
Real freedom plants more of heaven here.
When God’s people were between a rock and a hard placfe and God said, “Let My people go” — He didn’t mean for people to go their own way, or the easy way, or the well-travelled wide ways — but to go His way.
Real freedom brings more of the Kingdom.
Real freedom releases you into all of God.
When God beckoned us all out of a land of oppression and into a land of freedom, He said, “Let my people go — that they may worship me…” (Ex. 7:16)
So it has always been:
sings a worship anthem.
knows that no matter what is going on, we can keep on worshipping God.
is the hallmark of Christendom, and it releases victims, and it revolutionizes systems and it destroys racism, and it ushers in more of the Kingdom.
When God meant to set the people free and plant them in the Promise Land, He said: “Let my people go — that they may serve me” (Ex. 7:16)
Real freedom means we get to freely serve.
Real freedom ultimately frees us from being self-serving, to serving others and God with all of our being.
Real freedom frees us from being servants to our rights, our comfort, our ways — to freely serving to bring others comfort because this is the right way.
Real freedom releases us from all bondage to self, and bonds us to the heart of God.
Watching a whole countryside of generational farmers, essential workers, move out into the land this year, move together to work the earth and grow food and freedom and more of His glory in all this light, there is this undeniable feeling, this knowing, of being planted, rooted, in truth:
Independent of what comes, we are dependent upon God and that is the greatest freedom of all.
And the soil under us is always alive and fertile, and now is the window of time we’ve been given to plant possibility of hope, of kindness, from the farmers’ midwest fields, to the winding vineyards up the western coast, to the school playgrounds ringing with our kids’ laughter on small town back streets, to the abandoned lots made basketball courts in the downtown core where our kids’ shoot hoops till the stars come out, to every single down-trodden heart that is struggling for a place just to safely breathe.
Now is the time to sow seeds of hope and kindness across this land exactly when a storm of things feel impossible, to waiting classrooms where teachers pray for students to keep finding a way to struggle through, to food banks where forgotten vets try to scrounge up their next meal, to nursing home dining rooms where the faithful giants, on whose shoulders we now stand, feel achingly lonely, to the the reaching hands of the oppressed and marginalized desperate to be seen as fellow image bearerest of God — because we can never stop working for freedom in places overwhelmed with despair, because we can never give up even when it seems like the crises won’t let up.
The greatest freedom we have across this land is the freedom to come right to God at any time.
Whether we’re standing in flooding fields or burning the midnight oil to keep things afloat, or taking another shift to pay the bills or fighting systemic injustice, fighting to keep our families together, fighting addictions, or fighting to stay awake in prayer:
No matter where we stand in this land, we’re all standing on a foundation of faith.
Yep, you can bet there isn’t a farmer working this land who doesn’t know the adage of generations of essential farmers: Corn’s gotta be knee-high come first week of July.
And you can count on it, this July:
There are generations of men and women living their faith on their knees, generations standing neck-high in hard times but raising hands higher in praise, generations whose freedom in the land has so grown their hearts that they can’t bear anything less than sharing that freedom with those buried in hopelessness.
When the last light ignites across all this land planted even now with hope, it’s like this fireworks of faith.
Freedom can keep cracking through dark and not be stopped when the brave live a faith of epic, historic proportions.
This land can fill with glorious light that keeps on reaching right out.
How do you find the way that lets you become what you hope to be in the midst of what is?
How do you know the way forward that lets you heal, that lets you flourish, the way that takes your brokenness — and makes wholeness?
How can you afford to take any other way?