He Purposes A Crop

He Purposes A Crop

My wife and I pray together every morning for the members of our assembly and for a needy world as well as ourselves. It is a privilege the Lord has granted to us in these days, to engage with others in intercession and we are able to do so in a greater measure than ever before now that child rearing is long passed and increasing age has forced us into semi-retirement. We are learning that the things that happen to all as we go through the cycles of life may bring not only unwanted experiences but increased opportunities. For the Christian nothing is without purpose or meaning. F.W. Faber wrote:

“Ill that He blesses is our good, And unbless’d good is ill;
And all is right that
seems most wrong,
If it be His sweet will.

I am sure that he did not write that without going through deep personal experience. There are thirteen verses preceding that climax to his thoughts on the will of God. One of them reads, “When obstacles and trials seem like prison walls to be, I do the little I can do, and leave the rest to Thee.”

Can we unravel the mystery surrounding a recent plane crash in Zambia when a missionary pilot and his wife were both taken home leaving two little girls orphans? Does that make sense to our way of thinking? In those last seconds before their plane hit those hydro wires, did they have time to make sense of what was about to happen? Of course not, neither do those who have hours, years or the rest of their

lives to think about unanticipated and unwanted events; trials changing the course by which they had thought to travel home. We should only attempt to solve such riddles if we can plumb the depths of Calvary where the Father who had sent His unique and only Son to be the Savior of the world could also be the God who forsook Him when He most clearly was fulfilling His pleasure.

The torture of those three dark hours must eclipse all else and “sweeten every bitter cup” we are called to drink. In our darkest hours we cannot say we are being forsaken. Besides, His experience shows that “God purposed a crop”. As my wife was praying for the many people known to us who are going through deep waters, those words sprang to my mind as being true in everything saints

encounter. There are trials that are the results of choices we made but now regret, others that have been forced upon us by the need or will of loved ones and so on. We may dwell on their imagined human causes, sickness, or the work of an enemy. It will do us no good. Instead, we should remember Joseph’s words, “You meant it for evil, but God meant it for good”, for He does indeed purpose a crop. The corn of wheat must fall into the ground and die, this was essential in the case of our Lord (John 12:24). It resulted in the rich harvest of Pentecost and goes on until He has brought all His loved ones home. He purposed a crop. Faith rises to grasp that as true for all who have entrusted themselves to His care and yet face the unexplained.

Scripture does support what we have said. It was Isaiah who spoke of the Lord as being like a wise farmer who, after sowing a variety of seeds knows how to bring each kind to fruition, using different methods and implements to bring this about. A cartwheel will not damage some while it would crush others. This knowledge, “comes from the Lord of hosts, who is wonderful (awesome) in counsel and excellent in sound wisdom.” Please do read carefully the prophets words for yourself in chapter 28 and verses 23-29. They will do you more good than anything we can say. After meditating along these lines I found a helpful application of this passage by Herbert Vander Lugt who illustrates “the way God deals with His children by citing three aspects of a farmer’s work.

First, he declares that the plowman doesn’t continue breaking the ground indefinitely, but stops when it is ready for planting (v.24). Likewise, our trials are brought to an end as soon as they have accomplished His purposes in our lives. Then the prophet says that the farmer sows his seed with discernment, scattering the cumin but putting the wheat in rows (vv.25,26). This assures us that the Lord carefully selects the discipline especially suited to our particular need. Finally, Isaiah portrays the labourer threshing his crop. With extreme care he beats out the dill with a light stick, and strikes the cummin with a heavier flail. For the wheat he employs a wheel just heavy enough to avoid crushing the grain (vv. 27,28). Thus the Almighty uses the gentlest possible touch for our condition, never allowing an affliction to be greater than we can bear.” (Wm. Macdonald’s quote in The Believer’s Bible Commentary).

We also find help, as many have, in. reading a hymn of William Cowper who, it is thought, was subject to fits of depression. The following verses show he believed that God purposes a crop.

God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea
And rides upon the storm.

Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never failing skill
He treasures up His bright designs
And works His sovereign will.

Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head.

Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.

His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.

Blind unbelief is sure to err
And scan His work in vain;
God is His own interpreter,
And He will make it plain.

May the Lord help us to so believe and simply trust and obey, submitting all to His care. May the Lord help us to so believe.

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Colin Anderson

Bible teacher, with a particular interest in building up new and struggling churches. Commended from Danforth Gospel Hall. Married Joan Michell from Grace Bible Chapel, Timmins, ON in 1960. Worked with Chester Donaldson in the early days of Northland Bible Camp, and with Jim Booker to start Galilee Bible Camp. Taught for three years at a Bible school in Kampala, Uganda (1967-1970). Helped establish Richvale Bible Chapel, Markham Bible Chapel, and Sudbury Bible Fellowship. Currently serving in southwestern Ontario.