He relished the time he spent riding his horse as he traveled from town to town as an itinerate preacher at the end of the Civil War. He loved the tranquil moments it gave him to recite Scripture, sing hymns, and converse with the Lord he loved so much.
Lately, he had been fighting some inner turmoil. He stopped singing and reciting Scripture. An incident with someone left him with a scarred heart, filling him with unforgiveness and depleting him of hope. He was angry, alone, and miserable.
One Sunday, on his way to one of his parishes, he stopped at his favorite field where, not too long before, soldiers engaged in a battle to the death. The battle was a bloody one and its evidence still appeared on the ground. The war of the field may have been over, but a battle within the preacher’s heart raged on.
As he leaned over the roadside fence surrounding the field, distressed and pondering the events that had taken place there, the Lord gave him a vision of the field, its misfortune, and its encouraging outcome.
The Lord whispered to his heart…
“Just as this battlefield held devastation, it shall be transformed into a field of harvest. The same is true of this battle in your life. You shall not be devastated but you shall reap a harvest of hope. Do not be disheartened, for the battle is not yours, but Mine.
“Your field of bitterness, heartache, and loss of hope, when released to Me, is as the Valley of Achor, a vale of depression and trouble, where death ensued, but it will reverse and be your entrance to hope. What may be now a field of rocks, weeds, and bloodshed shall yield a land of produce.
“There is always hope. Never give up. Learn the sermon of the field.”
In tears, the preacher dropped to his knees and prayed for the Lord to change his heart and fill him once again with hope.
Time passed and the preacher became the permanent pastor of the little church near the field. Each Sunday, he drove his buggy by the field as a reminder of the vision of hope and letting God fight his battles for him.
And each Sunday, he saw the progress of the field, for a church member bought the field and planted a vineyard. It became a field of hope. After a couple of years, the vines began to spread out and soon flourished. Then came an abundance of grapes.
One Saturday afternoon, in need of a hope boost, he decided to ride out to the field. The owner happened to be there with his family having a picnic celebration. The man saw the preacher and grabbed a filled glass as he went over to the fence to greet the preacher.
“Preacher,” he said, “this glass of wine is for you. Please come celebrate with us in our first taste of wine from our vineyard. Out of this field’s bloody tragedy, the Lord brought the fruit of harvest. Throughout the years, we never gave up hope.”
Trying to hold back the tears, the preacher gratefully joined in the celebration, for he was also giving thanks to the Lord for transforming his situation from devastation to harvest and restored hope.
He had learned the sermon of the field.
~Sometimes, it takes a while for change to happen. For battles to be won. For attitudes to change. For forgiveness to give way to forgiveness. For heartache to morph into praise.
May the bloody field of your circumstances and heartache be transformed into a harvest of hope.
Be encouraged. There is always hope. Never give up. Learn the sermon of the field.
Hooking up with…