The sun showed no mercy as its heat and rays beamed down upon my bald head. Little did I know, I would eventually get sunburned and the skin on top of my head would start peeling the following week. My muscles were getting a heck of a lot more workout than my typical routine when I go to the gym, and I was sweating profusely to the point where I looked like I had jumped into a swimming pool. I raised the ground tiller and drove it into the grassy ground as a part of the process for laying the foundation for a new building that was being built on the school campus. This was my first mission trip and I was literally being baked by the ninety-something degree Nicaraguan heat, even though it was technically the winter season. Go figure lol. Over and over again I would use the tool to break up the ground so that a teammate could dig the ditch deeper. Granted, this was for a more than noble cause, but I was totally unprepared for MANUAL LABOR of this magnitude.
However, one thing that I was somewhat prepared for is when the Lord began to speak to me. Ever since I committed my life to Christ, my experiences have usually been that the Father speaks whenever He feels like it, and it usually is not at convenient times. I have discovered that He likes to catch me off-guard and really get my attention. Well, on this dreadfully hot day that is exactly what happened.
As I tilled the ground and the ditch got a little deeper by the hour, the Lord began to speak to me about going deeper in my understanding of Him and His Word. It soon became even more clear to me that He was speaking about a deeper relationship with Him. As a result, the following scripture came to mind:
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (NKJV)
I believe that the word “diligently” is not their by happenstance. We must chase after Him if we really want a deeper connection with Him and if we desire to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God. So as I drove the tool into the hard ground and dirt was shoveled out, the Holy Spirit showed me that the act of digging the ditches represented what it meant to diligently seek Him. The ground represents our hearts. As we go deeper in Him, our hearts have to be softened more and more so that we can be transformed into the person He always meant for us to be. The tilling of ground can represent so many different things, whether it is trials and tribulations or the arduous process of dying to self. It is like the willingness to alter our very lives and be purposefully inconvenienced because we desire to know Him more than anything else. Digging deeper into the ground and encountering the roots and rocks is just like going against the grain of society. It is the willingness to do what is unpopular and/or uncommon. This is the narrow road. The path that requires back-breaking faith on our part to let go of our lives so that we can discover the life He intended for us. This is often a hard thing to do.
When we go deeper and get more intimate with the Father, He will begin to reveal His mysteries to us. I actually had a cool manifestation of this in the natural as we dug those ditches. The deeper we went; the more grub worms began to be unveiled.
We even found a toad that had burrowed itself deep in the ground, probably for the purpose of shielding itself from the sun. The point is that we uncovered some things we were not aware were there. The same holds true when we consider our own lives. As we get closer and deeper with the Father, He will show us things about our past and reveal our “blind spots” we need to address. He will also deepen our understanding of His Word and solidify our foundation in Him so that we are not moved when “life happens.” The foundation for this particular building had to go to a certain depth because the building was being built to stand its ground during earthquakes. Do you see the connection? (Smile)
Luke 6:48 He is like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream beat vehemently against that house, and could not shake it, for it was founded on the rock. (NKJV)
So despite the back-breaking labor, my skin being darkened a couple of shades and getting my bald head sunburned, the experience was extremely rewarding and life-changing. I have so much more to write about even though this mission trip was only a week.
Nathan Allen Copyright ©2013
November 20, 2013 at 7:35 am
WOW…..what a PERFECT morning devotion!!! So perfect, that at the onset of reading it, the Spirit of God became so tangible! His presence was so stunning…so ominous…looming…that tears began to roll uncontrollably down my face; particularly when I got to the part of your blog that said, “I raised the ground tiller and drove it into the grassy ground as a part of the process for laying the foundation for a new building.” AND…..”Over and over again I would use the tool to break up the ground so that a teammate could dig the ditch deeper.” I could preach an entire sermon off of that alone! How powerful my brother! Can’t hardly wait for part II……..
November 21, 2013 at 2:03 pm
God waits for us to get into a place where He can speak to us to give instruction for what we are to “be” in order for Him to do through us what He wants us to do. I pray that His instruction for you and all of us who read this prolific writing will begin to be carried out in this sick and dying world for the “saving of souls” and His Glory.
The P.O.E.T. aka The Anointed Pen
November 23, 2013 at 9:34 am
It’s a blessing to have an opportunity to go out of the country & serve those less fortunate & have God use that experience to speak to your heart. Moments like this you remember for life.