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It’s Time to Get Our Hands Dirty

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Have you ever tended to a plant?  First you have to get your hands dirty, make room for this tiny, itty-bitty seed.  And then you water it.  Not too much, but just enough.

It’s a process.  But it’s beautiful; watching things grow.

Recently I have felt so burdened by so many heartbreaking things happening in our world (Orlando’s tragedies // Flooding in WV // Deciding which lives matter).  It has been the very opposite of growth.  It has been heartbreaking death and destruction.

Those events and souls who have been affected are weighing heavily on my heart.  And the weight of it all has felt unbelievably heavy.  An elephant doing dead lifts on my chest, heavy.

Last night, as I turned on the reading lamp by my bed, and opened my illustrated study Bible, I finally felt the crushing, suffocating burden lift.

I finally took the time to get my hands dirty and opened my Bible.  I wasn’t sure where to turn in this ancient text, but I didn’t want it to be a page at random, like I used to read it.  Flipping through without reason until my finger fell upon a strange and thoroughly out of context passage.  Instead, I flipped to a familiar book and read a few footnotes and some background on the culture of that day.  But I was looking for something.  Something to hold onto.

I was looking to find answers to this heaviness; to the sorrow our nation is facing.

I bought my illustrated study Bible a few months ago, just before my small group began studying Romans, so I haven’t yet explored all of my favorite passages in this particular copy.  So when I turned to the tried and tested passage that was my spiritual life jacket over the last couple of years, I was suddenly faced with a different take on the verses that I had memorized through much meditation during the fall of 2014.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take.
—Proverbs 3:5-6, NLT

The weight of the words, light and refreshing, replaced the weight and heaviness of the sorrow I’ve been carrying.

You see, in 2015 and 2016, I have selected focus words for each year.  Instead of choosing a sure-to-fail resolution, I’ve selected a focus that would allow me to grow throughout the entirety of the year.  In 2015, I chose the word, “trust”.  In 2016, I chose the word, “seek”.

This new take on a familiar passage includes both.  TRUST in the Lord with all of your heart.  SEEK his will in all you do.

I don’t know how long it would have taken me to come across these two verses if it weren’t for my desperation for answers.  If I hadn’t gone digging, to get my hands dirty, I would have continued to feel the destructive pressure instead of the freeing hope of growth.

As I sat down to write this post, some other freeing words have come to mind.  Those of Natalie Grant’s song, Be One.

It’s time to get our hands dirty
Be love there’s a whole lot of hurting
Calling all hearts
Calling all hands
Calling all feet to take a stand
Why sit around and wait for a miracle to come
When we can be one

What do you say?  Can we tackle the heartbreak together?  Will you pray with me?

Lord, help us to take action.  Let us not be afraid to dig in, to be the love and hope for others.  It’s not time to surrender to the destruction, but to seek to find answers. Help us to trust You.  Help us to seek You first.  Lord, let us join You in Your work.  It’s time to get our hands dirty.  We pray in Your name.  Amen.


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