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Dwell in the Land and Cultivate Faithfulness

What do you do when the grass really is greener on the other side?

As you walk across the land that is yours, you can hear the dry earth crunch underneath your boots. You take in your surroundings. You’re overwhelmed with the sea of brown. It’s hot. It’s unwelcoming. It’s nearly barren. You know there’s work to be done, but you can’t even imagine where to begin. It already seems like all of earth’s forces are already against you: Drought. No time. No energy. No money. Then you see the patches of green on the horizon… your neighbor’s plot of land. It’s lush, bright, healthy. The contrast between their land and yours makes your heart shrink ten sizes. Why can’t my land look like that? you think. You’d love nothing more than to hop the fence and claim it as your own, or to abandon your land in search of some green pasture somewhere else.

Have you ever felt this way? Have you ever been in a season of life where your circumstances seem so bleak and hopeless, and just across the street life seems so much easier for someone else. You wonder if life would be so much better in another setting, or if only you were in a different situation.Are you in that season now? We’re told that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. Which may be true. Many times we trick ourselves into thinking things will be better if [fill in the blank]. And what we really end up doing is chasing the wind, only to look back and see that things weren’t actually all that awful to begin with, and that every scenario has its own set of pros and cons. But what if the grass really is greener on the other side?

What if your land really does suck?

If we believe in a loving God who has a purpose and plan for our lives, a God who is for us and not against us, then what’s with the crappy land? Maybe it’s a consequence of our sin. Maybe not. Maybe it’s a refining season that will lead to greater things. Maybe it’s just life, and life isn’t always fair.

But maybe, you can do something about it. Maybe there is hope.

I’ve always hung on to the words written in Ecclesiastes 3, to the concept that there’s a time and season for everything, and that “God makes all things beautiful in its time.” (v. 11). So I do believe that it’s appropriate to move on from a land if God calls you to do so and if it’s in His timing.

But what if He’s got you right where He wants you?

I always think of Joseph in times like these. Out of all the people in the Bible, I relate to him the most. I think it’s because we’re both dreamers. God gave him this awesome dream of one day being this mighty ruler. His dream eventually came true, but the journey to its realization was difficult, to say the least (see Genesis 37-47 for the full account). I’m a visual learner, so I think Joseph’s story is best summed up in this graphic:

I wonder how many times Joseph thought about greener grass elsewhere. How many nights he cried out to God in frustration. How close he was to actually giving up on his dream.But here’s what set Joseph apart: God’s favor was upon him, even in his darkest hour, and Joseph was faithful in everything. He was faithful while imprisoned, he was a faithful cup bearer, he was a faithful dream interpreter, he was even faithful when unfair and untrue accusations were made against him. No matter his circumstances – no matter how dry and brown his land was – he dwelt in that land and was faithful. And God made his grass green.

This is what the Lord tells us: Trust in the Lord and do good;

Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

Delight yourself in the Lord;

And He will give you the desires of your heart.

Commit your way to the Lord,

Trust also in Him, and He will do it.

– Psalm 37:2-5 (NASB)

We always want to quote the part that says, “Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.” (because, yeah, that sounds awesome!). But rarely do we speak of what comes before: Trust Him. Do good. Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. We have to be faithful in the dry, brown land, friends. God may teach us how to make that land green, or He may lead us to a new land. Knowing that only comes from being in communication with him through prayer and reading His word. But He calls us to dwell and be faithful now, not just when things get greener.

So, keep dreaming.

Keep hoping.

Keep praying.

God is doing a good thing, trust Him.

Dwell in your land and be faithful.

You’ll be sitting in your own green grass before you know it.

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