The LORD said to Moses at Mount Sinai, “Speak to the Israelites and say to them: ‘When you enter the land I am going to give you, the land itself must observe a sabbath to the LORD. For six years sow your fields, and for six years prune your vineyards and gather their crops. But in the seventh year the land is to have a year of sabbath rest, a sabbath to the LORD. Do not sow your fields or prune your vineyards. Do not reap what grows of itself or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. The land is to have a year of rest.’ ” Leviticus 25:1-5
The idea of a fallow year, or year of rest for the land is an ancient one for farmers. God commands Israel to give their land a rest every seven years. No plowing or planting, no reaping. Just let the land do nothing. We know now that this is important to keep the land healthy, to allow it to recover from being farmed so it can nourish plants for generations to come.
We are in a fallow time now. The difference is we didn’t choose this; we have to stay home and do little for the sake of our neighbor. But most of us are at home now running out of things to do. I wonder if God could redeem this slower time for us. Could this turn into a time of rest and renewal? I’m spending a lot more time with my kids now and feeling the bonds of our relationships strengthened. I’m really glad I like my wife; our relationship is strengthened as we pitch in together to meet these challenging times. We actually get to worship together, as a family. My son started making Bible scenes on his Minecraft game. My girls are playing with Sam more than ever. Both my wife and I are exercising more. We’re eating more too, but that’s beside the point. Maybe God is redeeming this fallow time.
I’ve been interested to see that pollution is way down across the globe. The waters in Italy are clear again. Animals are coming out of hiding. Maybe God can teach us about what our planet can be like, again.
Please don’t misunderstand me. This virus is real, and it’s scary. Some of us in essential services, like healthcare, are working harder now than ever to fight against it. And some of us have gotten sick and others have died. This is a terrible time in our world. We are all affected differently.
God is here with us. God is with the nurses and doctors on the front lines. God is with those who are doing their part by staying home. God isn’t just with us; He is working through us and on us. For those of us who find these days to be quiet and still, God may just be doing the work of renewal deep in your soul. What is God reminding you of? How is God giving you new life? Pay attention and embrace God’s work, even when it’s invisible.