Have you ever been trapped in negative thinking patterns that “nothing is ever going to change”? Discouragement, if we allow it to take root, can yield an ugly harvest of bitterness, anger, depression, and despair. BUT if we allow hope and encouragement to take root instead, then the resulting harvest is entirely different: peace, joy, and a confident expectation for the best.
The Lord allowed me and Patrick to offer seeds of hope and encouragement this past weekend, and many dear conference-goers firmly planted those seeds in their hearts. Patrick and I served as the keynote speakers at a statewide conference in Ohio for speech pathologists and audiologists who work in Ohio’s schools. We thanked them for the difference they make and shared with them our story of “Finding Patrick’s Voice.”
We made wonderful friends at the OSSPEAC (Ohio School Speech Pathology Educational Audiology Coalition) Fall Conference, in Columbus, Ohio. We recounted with them the many seeds that were planted in Patrick’s life to result in a powerful harvest:
- Doctors said Patrick was “mentally retarded”; yet, he graduated high school with honors and earned academic scholarships to attend college.
- Specialists said Patrick might never speak; yet, he become a powerful vocalist and gifted public speaker who brings audiences to tears.
- Patrick could not tie his shoes until he was 13 years old; yet, he emerged as a swimming champion who received an athletic scholarship to swim in college.
- Patrick and I wrote a bestselling book OPTIMISM FOR AUTISM that shares our story and the power and grace of God.
- Patrick and I are now speaking publicly about the hope and encouragement found in the Lord and the abundant life found in Him in the midst of our struggles.
As part of our talk on Saturday, Patrick shared, “The Bible says, ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.’ It says that in the book of Galatians, Chapter 6, verse 9. Think about it. When you plant a seed, it takes a while for it to grow. You water it, fertilize it, the sun works on it, and one day, the plant emerges. It’s the same with the people you help. Your influence works on them, little by little, and eventually, they start growing and changing. At the proper time, the harvest comes. Look at what happened to me!”
We learn the following truths from that verse in Galatians:
Keep doing good, and don’t give in to weariness.
God calls us to devote ourselves to doing what is good (Titus 3:8,14), to never tire of doing what is good (2 Thessalonians 3:13), and to set an example by doing what is good (Titus 2:7). He says He equips us to do good through this power and His Word (Hebrews 13:21, Acts 1:8, and 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
That verse in Galatians doesn’t say we won’t get weary in doing good. It just says not to give in to weariness, not to let being tired and worn out stop us from continuing to do what God has called us to do. When we get to that point of fatigue and are tempted to quit, that’s when we must call on God to help us keep going, and rely on Him to provide what we need. He is faithful, and He will do it (1 Thessalonians 5:24).
The harvest takes time.
Galatians 6:9 says, “at the proper time, we will reap a harvest.” When a seed goes in the ground, we don’t see anything happen for a while. The plant doesn’t just pop up the minute we place it in the soil. The harvest takes time. God’s timing is always perfect. Results and outcomes are under His authority. He is Lord of the harvest; we are the ones working in His harvest fields (Luke 10:2). Even though we can’t see it, as we work the fields, roots are emerging and anchoring themselves in the fertile soil as water and nutrients feed the seed. One day, a tender shoot emerges, and the sun and rain continue to help it grow. Eventually, precious fruit emerges. But it all takes time, necessary time, for the best fruit possible.
The harvest will come if we do not give up.
The harvest is inevitable. We reap what we sow (Galatians 6:7). But if we quit and give up, there is no harvest. Unattended seeds generally die and never bear fruit. Yet, those seeds that receive love, care, and attention, bloom and flourish in the Lord’s garden. He invites us to join Him in His work so that we might celebrate the harvest together.
Several participants at the conference this past weekend said our keynote speech encouraged them to persevere in helping others. Patrick’s presence and his story helped them realize the difference they were making and could continue to make in the lives of others. They determined to continue planting and cultivating seeds.
At the end of our presentation, Patrick sang “Forevermore,” by Travis Cottrell. The song declares the majesty, power, graciousness, and lovingkindness of God. It was the perfect culmination of our message. For God is great, and greatly to be praised, and if He invites you into His fields, then “the Lord your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete” (Deuteronomy 16:15, NIV).
Question: Where are you fighting weariness in doing good? How can we pray for you? Comment at the link below.