There are seasons in life just as there are seasons in nature. When the ground’s plowed up in the spring, there’s a stirring of the dirt. There’s fresh breath being breathed into the soil to give it new life, a new start.
Seeds are planted. If someone says, “That field’s planted in corn,” we believe it’s true, even though we see no evidence. But it doesn’t take long before sprouts break through the ground, heading for sunlight. Growing all summer long, they reach higher and higher until they appear to touch the sky.
I love the sight of tall corn stalks backlit by the sun. Blowing in the breeze, they look like they’re waving. I imagine them saying, “Hello! Look at me! I’m really growing tall! Yoo Hoo! How are you doing?”
Being from Iowa, I always imagine our crops as being friendly.
In the fall, just when they’re ripe and ready, they’re harvested. Then the land rests, hibernating all winter long like bears in caves.
Our spiritual lives are similar. Before we know the Lord, we’re hard and unyielding like winter ground. We’re like the people in Matthew 11:16-19 who don’t know the truth when they see it. They see John the Baptist, who lives a very austere life. He doesn’t spend time socializing. He’s not one of the boys. He doesn’t talk about football. He makes others nervous. So, they call him crazy.
Isn’t that what we humans do when we don’t understand someone? We label them, put them into a category, neatly filing them away. We don’t think about them or challenge ourselves to reflect on our reaction. We remain hard, like cold dirt set in stone by the harsh season of winter, unwilling to allow the truth to be breathed into us. Safe. Unchanging. Frozen in our judgments.
Then Jesus himself comes. He socializes with others. He eats at their tables. He’s seen in the company of tax collectors, lepers, women with bad reps. He’s labeled a drunkard and a glutton. A friend of riff raff. The winter people with their frozen hearts judge Jesus, too.
If they paid attention, they’d know that Jesus meets people where they are and breathes into them a fresh breath of life. Not the air of judgment, but the life-sustaining oxygen of love. Jesus’ love sprouts in them. They’re changed. They grow.
That’s why a woman with a bad reputation can dare to walk into a rich and powerful man’s house and anoint Jesus with her expensive oil. With hateful eyes judging her, she gets down on her hands and knees and washes Jesus’ feet with her own tears and dries them with her own beautiful, long hair and her thankful heart.
She’s not just washing Jesus’ feet, she’s washing away her past. Her worthlessness. Her shame. How can she do this? She’s living in the midst of Jesus’ love. His love is that powerful. It can knock down mountains with a single puff of breath.
You see, her love for Jesus has grown so big she doesn’t allow hate to stop her. She’s growing towards the light, the very Light of the World, Jesus himself. Her Savior. In John 8:12 Jesus said: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
That’s how this woman can be so bold in a male-dominated society, where women are hardly tolerated and certainly not women with a bad reputation. As she defies the culture and grows towards Jesus, she transforms into a beloved daughter of God.
She knows that Jesus is her safe place. When we don’t know how to put one more foot in front of another, Jesus is the place to go. When we are life-weary and exhausted, carrying heavy burdens and worries, Jesus gives us rest. We can rest in him.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus calls us to come. It’s a simple request. Come. Do you need a fresh breath of God breathed into you? Come. Are you scared? Come. Are you weary? Come. Are you curious? Come. Are you tired of being all alone? Come. Are you ready? Come. Allow the Lord to breathe his breath of love into you and create a perpetual spring.
Kathy Yoder is a devotional writer. She may be reached at email@example.com.