The Missing Element


"Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear." (Isa. 59:1,2)

At first I thought I was imagining it; but when I kept seeing them over and over again, I knew it must be true! Every few kilometers there was a vegetable garden planted along the side of the highway! Most of them were surrounded by fences of some type, and all of them proudly exhibited crispy green cabbages, feathery carrot tops and lustrous turnip greens.

We were traveling up the Northern Peninsula of Newfoundland, a road that is known as the "Viking Trail" leading to "L'anse aux Meadows", the first known Viking settlement in North America. The road largely passed through uninhabited brush country, and what sparse habitation exists can be found in the tiny fishing villages lining the coves and inlets of the peninsula's western edge. But these fishermen and their families don't plant their gardens in their yards. Instead, they traveled many miles to plant them along the side of the highway!

Why?

The answer to my question came several days later. I was told by a local tour guide that the soil in the fishing villages was missing an important element necessary for the vegetable gardens to flourish! Suddenly it all made sense! If the soil where you live won't support a garden, then why not plant your garden where there is good soil? And what better place than along the side of the road where you can easily access it?

Does it ever seem to you like your Christian life isn't flourishing? Perhaps you are waiting for all of the "blessing" that you hear should come to God's people. Maybe you await the fulfillment of a promise, or your Christian walk just doesn't seem to flourish as well as that of others you know. Could it be that just like there is a missing element in the soil on the coasts of Northern Newfoundland, there is a element missing in your Christian walk?

But, you ask: What could be missing? I pay my tithe. I go to church every week. I have daily devotions with my family, and most of the time I even find time for personal prayer and worship. I volunteer at the church's Call Centre, and I hand out food baskets to the poor. What could be missing?

Before I go on, I want to assure all of you that Salvation is NOT the issue here. Our salvation is not related to anything that we do or do not do. It is a simple matter of faith in God's gift of grace through the blood of Jesus. (Eph 2:8-10: "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God- not by works, so that no one can boast.) What I AM talking about is why our lives don't always seem as "blessed" as we would like to see them; why we aren't growing in the Lord.

I would like to suggest that the reason we aren't flourishing is that there is a missing element in our Christian lives! Maybe it's that pet sin we're holding on to, or that uncontrollable temper that flares up in the most inopportune times. Maybe it's the unchristlike way we think about the guy (or girl!) At the next desk at work, or perhaps there's an element of unforgiveness or pride in our hearts. It may be even something as basic as lack of surrender to Jesus. All of these things will "sour" the soil in our lives, making it impossible for God's blessings to reach us at their maximum potential.

So what do you do? The answer lies in the fishermen. They went to great effort to plant their gardens where the missing element was present. We, however, cannot simply "move" the garden to better soil. We must strive to put what's missing back into the soil of our hearts. We must ask God to reveal what is missing, then work with Him to bring it under the Blood of the Lamb so that we may receive the richness of the blessings He has for us!

Lyn Chaffart

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