by: Paul Gay
“If you walk in my statutes and keep my commandments so as to carry them out, then I shall give you rains in their season, so that the land will yield its produce and the trees of the field will bear their fruit. Indeed, your threshing will last for you until grape gathering, and grape gathering will last until sowing time. You will thus eat your food to the full and live securely in your land. Leviticus 26:3-5
“Then the land shall enjoy its Sabbaths as long as it lies desolate, while you are in your enemies’ land; then the land shall rest and enjoy its Sabbaths.
We planted a garden this year. Like so many others, we had a lot of time on our hands because of the Pandemic. 2020 seems to have been the year that kept on giving, and not in a good way. Here is what I learned from our garden. There is a lot of toil that has to go into gardening to make the crops a success. We had perhaps the best garden we’ve had to date, but it took a lot of plowing, sowing, and work to reap the benefits. It reminds me of the year we just experienced.
There is a scripture in the Bible in which God tells the Israelites to let the land rest as part of Sabbatical year. They were to let the land rest by refraining from planting, pruning, harvesting, or any other type of working of the land. The land was not to be abused butallowed to rest so that it could continue to produce for the people, and they could in turn reflect on the Giver of good gifts.
I can’t help but see 2020 as a type of sabbatical year. We didn’t ask for it and we didn’t see it coming. It was filled with a lot of hardship. However, it brought us back to the basics. In my own life, it showed me that simple things are precious. I was able to reflect more on my Bible study. It allowed me to understand the importance of in person worship as our services were suspended for a time due to the pandemic. I appreciated and valued a homecooked meal around the table with my family. Bedtime stories became a sacred time with my children. My health and career were seen a blessing as so many were losing theirs. When everything shut down, many complained about the time spent at home. It did get monotonous at times. However, I soon realized that I would never again get this special time back with my family.
Life is about perspective. 2020 hasn’t been easy and if you have lost anything or anyone this year, be it a relative, friend, job, finances, I truly am sorry and I want you to know that I’m praying for your comfort and recovery. I will be so glad when we are able to return to what we knew as normal. But, when the day comes for us to return to our old normal, I hope that we hold in our hearts a gratefulness for this season when so much was put on hold and the lessons we learned from a season of shut down.
Much like the Israelites, maybe this was our time to “let the ground rest” so to speak. Maybe we needed this wake-up call to return to God and understand the importance of having our priorities in order.
I pray that you are happy and healthy in 2021 and that we carry the lessons learned from 2020 in our hearts. May it makes us stronger for planting in the new year.