Bringing in the Sheaves

  • March 12, 2018
  • #9356

Asking God for deeper knowledge of Him is risky because it often requires enrolling in His school of suffering. But it is so worth it!

Wheat fields

Hi, I’m Joni Eareckson Tada with an old, old memory.

If you grew up in church in the 1960s as I did, you might remember the old gospel song, “Bringing in the Sheaves.” In Sunday school, our teacher would have us kids stand and march around the room singing the chorus. Written generations ago, the song spoke about plowing and working the soil until harvest time. “Sheaves” are the bundles of ripe grain, bound up and carried by the harvesters. The song has its roots in Psalm 126, verse 6 where it says: “Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” The harvest described in Psalm 126 speaks of that glad, glorious, golden season when we will present the fruits of our earthly labors to Jesus, Lord of the harvest. In the meantime, however, working the ground and tilling God's fields can be difficult. But Galatians Chapter 6, verse 9 is meant to give encouragement when Paul writes: “And let us not get tired of doing what is right, for after a while we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t get discouraged and give up.”

Oh, friend, don’t get discouraged, don’t give up. Over the years of pressing on and persevering through many afflictions, I have often straightened from my labors, leaned on my hoe (so to speak), gazed at the horizon, and I have longed for harvest time, for that Better Country. When I’m feeling overwhelmed with life’s trials, I keep reminding myself that they have a purpose, there is an end in view. That purpose is beautifully expressed in a Puritan prayer I have often whispered to the Lord, sometimes through tears. Here is an excerpt. It says:

“Give me a deeper trust, that I may lose myself to find myself in Thee, the ground of my rest, the spring of my being. Give me a deeper knowledge of Thyself as Savior, Master, Lord, and King…. Plow deep in me…that my being may be a tilled field, the roots of grace spreading far and wide, until Thou alone art seen in me, Thy beauty golden like summer harvest, Thy fruitfulness as autumn plenty.”

I think you can see why I love that prayer. Because I don’t want to throw down the hoe, I don’t want to get frustrated that harvest time seems too far in the distant future. So I pray, ‘Plow deep in me, Lord.’ I’ll be honest with you. It’s a risky prayer because we are asking for a deeper knowledge of our Savior, a deeper holiness, or a deeper power in prayer. Which means that we are asking God to take His plow—the sharp, cutting edge of His will—and run our lives through and furrow us, unearthing parts that need to be tilled, places in our soul that have been too long in the dark. We’re asking Him to turn those places upright to the sunshine of God’s love and the showers of His mercy.

Plow me deep, Lord. It’s a risky prayer because it’s an invitation into our Lord’s school of suffering. But here’s the bottom line. No one goes to Christ’s heaven unless they take up their cross daily and follow in His steps. God shares His joy on His terms, and those terms call for us to, in some measure, suffer as He did. No, not in the degree His did, but in the manner in which He approached His cross. But oh, the pleasure of knowing the Man of Sorrows in this deeply personal way it is worth it. And when the harvest time finally comes, “Those the Lord has rescued will enter Zion with singing; everlasting joy will crown their heads.” That’s a beautiful reminder from Isaiah. It reminds us in the meantime, to keep ‘Bringing in the sheaves; bringing in the sheaves. We shall come rejoicing, bringing in the sheaves.' God bless you friend!

© Joni and Friends


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