We were blessed with an amazing thunderstorm on Friday afternoon. The rain poured down for a long enough time to water the dry and thirsty earth. A few hours later I decided to take advantage of the softened earth to pull the never ending supply of weeds on the side hill of my house.
As I sat on the still damp ground with feet planted in mud (the first time I had seen that for a while), it occurred to me that rain didn’t just help the good plants grow better, it certainly made getting rid of the bad plants much easier. Flowers and vegetables and “good” grass seem to require an abundance of water, while weeds and thorn bushes and every variety of invasive plant can apparently grow without much more than a heavy dew to nourish them. But a soaking rain, waters the earth, nourishing the good plants but also makes the troublesome plants easier to pull, leaf, stem and root, all.
Apparently my heart and spirit are the same way. When regularly “watered” by the rain of God’s word, the refreshment of God’s Spirit and the outpouring of God’s love through Jesus . . . my heart is softened. God’s Word works to produce the fruits it speaks of: love, joy, peace, gentleness, hope, etc.
When I neglect watering my heart with the abundance of God’s refreshment . . . it quickly begins to grow hard and it doesn’t produce much fruit. But even worse . . . when my heart becomes hardened, not only do the good things not grow, the weeds seem to spring up faster and quickly are much harder to pull out.
When my heart is hard, I don’t really want to have my pride revealed to me. When my heart is hard, I’m not all that interested in hearing a friend’s gentle correction, or a coworker’s encouraging challenge. When the ground is hard, weeds grow up between me and my family, my friends and my loved ones. Bitterness takes root in dry ground and along with it jealousy and anger and arrogance. Hard soil makes for tough weed pulling, but soft ground, well watered heart soil makes pulling weeds much easier.
When my heart is constantly watered by the word of God, a friend’s gentle correction is received with humility, or a spouse calling us to a better way of living is met with openness. A needy person is greeted with compassion and not judgment. It’s just easier to pull weeds when the soil is soft.
The rain on Friday was an awesome blessing . . . it softened the earth. Praise God, we don’t have to wait for his spiritual rain. He is willing and eager to give it all the time. Just listen to his promise: “And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.” Ezekiel 36:26
Give me the rain of your word, O Lord. Soften my heart.