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Sunday, September 28, 2014


by Cynthia Ruchti

The title could lead you to believe these are the rantings of a dissatisfied, disgruntled, worn out writer. Or parent. Or spouse. Or engineer, teacher, physician, car mechanic, tax expert, sculptor, gardener, baker…

That question scrolls across the screen of almost everyone's mind, however frequently or infrequently. Sometimes in fine print. Sometimes, bolded and flashing with animation.

Does this have to be so hard? The amount of work seems disproportionate to the return on investment. The hours applied far outweigh the benefits. Progress inches along on the good days, retreats on the bad.

Even those who are passionate about what they do, called, devoted find themselves caught in a backwater of frustration, or a riptide that carries them so much farther out to sea than they intended to go. Paddling harder worsens the dilemma. Floating feels like resignation.

Whatever the arena--writing, feeding a family of picky eaters, biking uphill--we can draw immense comfort from the legacy of someone for whom life could have been so much easier than it turned out. His faithfulness should have resulted in smooth going. But he was hunted, pursued, cursed, driven from his land, ridiculed, battered…

That man--the David of the Bible--inspired writers like him to pen words like these from a pilgrimage song, possibly even penned by his son:

"Let those who go out,
     crying and carrying their seed,
come home with joyful shouts,
     carrying bales of grain!"
                       Psalm 126:5-6 CEB

A dirge? No. A song of hope. And a reminder that the work of it--whatever it is--will tax our muscles, our spirits, our energies, our will at times.

But even when tears accompany our efforts, the end result can be a joy-hemmed harvest.

It's an ancient principle. A timeless principle.

Tears and sweat aren't necessarily evidence that we're doing something wrong. They're evidence that this is hard and there's a harvest ahead worth pressing through to bale, as in gather.

Lord God, I pray today for every worker, writer, parent, ministry leader who is staring at precious little seed at the moment, and standing on what seems rock-hard soil. May their virtual tears soften the ground for the harvest yet to come. In Jesus' Name, the Lord of the Harvest, Amen.

Award-winning author and speaker Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope. Her latest releases are All My Belongings (novel), When the Morning Glory Blooms (novel), and Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People's Choices (Christian Living) from Abingdon Press. or


  1. Thank you, Cynthia. This post was just what I needed this morning after a very long weekend! Blessings!

  2. Strangely, asked a similar question and thought of the same verse yesterday, so this is very timely.

    Years and years ago I worked at a plywood mill pulling veneer off a dryer; and early on it was really hard, frustrating... like Lucy and Ethel boxing chocolate off the assembly line. Eventually, by watching the more skilled workers, figured it out. The work was still hard, physical, but less so as I was a lot more efficient at it.

    So when I ask THE question... I'm asking "what's the trick?" How can I eliminate the inefficiencies so the effort be better utilized... how can get my clumsy, inexperienced self, out of the way and focus on the work of "farming"?

    As I read your post, two verses/passages came to mind Eccl 10:10; Isa. 28:23-29.

    Neither eliminate the words of the Psalm, or the effort/anxiety of the farmer... but at least they're there for the right reasons, instead of the wrong ones...

    Better to be David fleeing Saul for faithfulness than fleeing Absalom because of unfaithfulness.

  3. I'm reading this late. E-mail does have a way of building up. But I think it was meant for me to read TODAY.
    "They're evidence that this is hard and there's a harvest ahead worth pressing through to bale, as in gather." I struggle to remember the harvest is coming. Thanks for the reminder. :)


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