It was Friday night. I absently stared at the television, feeling lonely. Looking through my phone book, I knew that the options were not good. The friends who would be available on a Friday night would quickly offer me a tour back into a life that didn’t appeal to me anymore. My new friends were all busy with their husbands, boyfriends or family.
It was me, my TV and a bible that I knew very little about. I glanced down and picked it up. I was 25 years old and a new Christian. My weekends had been busy for as long as I remembered, filled with friends and many invitations.
Once I started attending church, however, my old friends started to slowly distance themselves from me.
I had made several new friends, but they were, well … new. Therefore, loneliness filled my heart on the weekends. And that particular weekend was the hardest. A friendship of eight years had come to an end that Friday. It was the last drop in the bucket.
“I thought you would fill my life, God, not empty it!” I cried.
And it was there, lying on my couch, that I heard him whisper in my heart for the first time.
“I am preparing the soil for a new harvest.” With my eyes closed, as in a dream, I saw a large, bare field. The soil showed places where trees once stood. It looked desolate. Ugly. Then I saw seeds coming down from the heavens, falling inside each hole on the ground. And finally, I saw the same field, green and full of beautiful, lush, tall trees. “Behold, I am making all things new” was the puzzling message in my heart.
More than 20 years have passed since that day, and I behold the harvest, indeed. I see God’s vision fulfilled. I can easily name the new harvest, one by one. My husband, our two daughters and wonderful, truthful friends throughout the years, planted in the field of my life. Besides one very best friend from my youth and my immediate family, they are all new. They have all been planted by God’s faithful hands, and have flourished and yielded fruits of joy, peace, and love. True friendship. True love.
I stand amazed. The vision was hard to believe at the time when loneliness filled my days. When God removed what I thought was true love, and those whom I considered real friends. He plucked them all, one by one, and left me wondering whether I’d ever feel loved again.
But before he started planting a new harvest in my life, I started seeking him for the first time. Instead of giving in to feelings of loneliness and depression, I sought to learn more about him and became involved serving others. As I did that, God started planting beautiful new relationships in my life.
Sometimes God removes people from our lives for a reason. It’s hard. Always hard. Mainly when you have grown to love someone. But I have learned that when God allows it to happen, it’s usually because he is cleaning out the soil, preparing it to yield a new, better harvest. All he needs is my surrendered trust. For each time I opened my hands to God, giving back to him whoever I thought belonged to me, I have always found him giving me back better things.
Knowing that doesn’t make it any easier, and it hurts each time someone we love disappoints us or walks away, but after years of trusting his hand, I realize that he only cuts out what doesn’t belong anyway.
Patricia Holbrook is a Christian author, blogger and national speaker. Her Book Twelve Inches is on sale at Barnes & Nobles, Amazon and retailers worldwide. Visit her website www.soaringwithHim.com. Email pholbrook@soaringwithHim.com