“Sow for yourselves righteousness; reap in mercy; break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the
Lord, till He comes and rains righteousness on you.” -Hosea 10:12
Let’s talk about this fallow ground. First, what is fallow ground? It is simply ground or soil which has
been left unplanted for a period of time. Do you ever wonder why God is seemingly not answering your prayers? We all know there are times when we pray and are later thankful that some of those went unanswered. I know I have been thankful for unanswered prayers as I look back using my 20/20 hindsight vision. We think we know what we want or need, but God always works on our behalf, even when we can’t see it. He works all things for our
good! (Romans 8:28)
What I am referring to are those prayers we need answered. We are praying for something and wondering why God may not be answering. Could be, our ground is fallow. Let’s use prayer for forgiveness and reconciliation as one example. There was a time when I was in a very hurtful and difficult place with someone in my family. They were not speaking to me, even at family events. I was praying for the Lord to reconcile and heal that relationship. It was extremely painful to walk through. I had thought I had forgiven them, and everyone should have been ready to move on. Boy was I wrong. I had to go through some more time to realize that true forgiveness forfeits the right to closure. If we are looking for a conversation or some type of apology, we have not truly forgiven. Also, while I may have been ready, that didn’t mean the other party was. It did take a few years.
The bible describes forgiveness in many beautiful ways. One condition for receiving forgiveness from God is our willingness to forgive others. Love is God’s motivation for forgiveness, pure and simple. So, as Christians, we forgive as we are forgiven, and it should be motivated by love. I get it, I do, it’s not always easy. Somethings just really hurt and because of this, forgiveness can be really difficult.
I was certainly stubbornly trying to fix things on my own, but my ground was fallow. I truly wasn’t ready to fix it when I thought I was as I was still looking, asking for, and needing an explanation. My ground was left unattended as I was plowing away in a field that I had no business in. Restoration, that is God’s field. I needed to go back and tend to the field that God was planning for the harvest, the Field of Receiving.
The good news is that God did miraculously restore that relationship, to even better than before. You should also know that I was perfectly okay with never getting an explanation or an apology. I just wanted them in my life and me in theirs. I did, however, receive an explanation almost a year after our relationship was restored. It provided yet another opportunity for the Lord to work. He’s so faithful.
In this next example, you will see that there are times that God cannot answer our prayers because we
are just not ready to receive the answer. Let’s look at the man that Jesus healed at the Pool of Bethesda. You can find his story in John chapter 5. It says this man had been an invalid for 38 years. As the story goes, at a certain season, an angel would come trouble the waters and the first one in this pool afterwards would be healed. Since it is written this man was lying on a mat, it is believed that he must have been paralyzed, so he had no way to get himself into the water before anyone else. It makes sense then, when Jesus approached him and asked if he wanted to be healed, his response was that no one would help him into the waters. This tells us a couple of things; the man was looking for his healing one place. He only saw one way. God will often answer our prayers in very unexpected ways. Be careful not to only be looking for an answer in the way you think it should happen. The other thing is that Jesus was confirming that the man was ready to receive. So, while it appeared Jesus was asking an obvious question, sometimes we need to voice our needs, for ourselves. Of course, the man said yes! He wanted to be healed, he was ready. Jesus told him to pick up his mat and he was healed instantly. It’s an amazing story. What we need to keep in mind is that in that instant, everything in that man’s life changed. He could no longer identify as an invalid. He could no longer be in that place with people I am sure were all bonded by their circumstances. Where he was going, the people he had been surrounded by all these years were not able to follow.
We need to look around at what and who we are surrounded by. Not that anyone or anything is necessarily bad, it’s just that once the prayer is answered, you may no longer need to identify the same way with the same people and be in the same place. Understanding this is part of being ready. It’s hard to walk away from comfort sometimes, even when we know we should. Jesus must have known this man was ready to begin his new life, as with everyone else he healed. Remember, Jesus did not heal everyone He encountered during His ministry here on Earth. I believe it’s because some were not ready to receive it. Their ground was fallow. We need to be ready to receive what we are asking for. Are you tending to the Field of Receiving in which you are asking the Lord to harvest the answer in? Are
you pulling weeds, watering, planting, fertilizing? Some of us just pray and fold our arms and wait. Maybe even tapping our foot. You may be waiting a while... Good news is, there is something you can do.
f there is something that you are asking the Lord for and wondering why He has not yet answered, I
challenge you to ask Him these 2 things:
1. “Lord, is this something that will draw me closer to you?” (As in, should you even be asking for it
at all?) Be willing to accept His answer on this.
2. “Lord, help me to get my fallow ground ready to receive that which I am asking for.”
How do we get our fallow ground ready? Here are how farmers tend do their fallow ground. During the unused years, the fallow ground will develop a hard crust that will not accept the seeds and produce growth. So, first things first, they must break up the hardened ground. Next, they plow repeatedly to break up the clods, which are large pieces of hardened dirt. Only after the ground has become softened, after repeated plowing, is it ready to receive seeds and produce growth. This shows us what to do to be ready to receive! Unharden our ground/hearts, break up those “clods” and allow ourselves to be softened. Then plow through it repeatedly to ensure no hard pieces are left. Only then are we ready to plant the seeds that will produce growth, answers, healing. God is faithful and the answers will come, if we are willing to do some plowing.
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