Fallow Time


By Ronda Wells

“For thus says the Lord to the men of Judah and to Jerusalem, ‘Break up your fallow ground, and do not sow among thorns.” Jeremiah 4:3 NASB

Along an Indiana highway, a large field hadn’t been planted for the second year in a row. We live in the heart of Midwest farm country, so a cornfield left to fallow for more than a year is unusual. This is done along with crop rotation to help soil recover its energy, like the exhausted mother of a newborn down for a much-needed nap.

The process of writing is similar. Long stretches of stillness occur. Why didn’t that publisher buy this devotional? Will I ever publish again? Where are you God? Should I even still be writing? Twenty years seems like a long time to wait for a contract.

We ask these questions about our lives, too. Periods and stages where things go awry and work against us. Job losses, health, family deaths, people who unexpectedly let us down. Divorces, aging parents, rebellious children. Bad economies. Wars. Sometimes all at once.

All these trials simply prepare us for what lies ahead.

A fallow field looks empty, except for random yellow mum-like weeds dotting its surface. The deep, ingrained patterns of planting remain though, not fully erased by the weather. We might think nothing is happening because the chemical restoration underneath is invisible. Minerals rise from deeper soil and leach to the surface. Organic matter, nitrogen, and carbon along with good bacteria replenish the moisture and fertility of the dirt.

Everything necessary to sustain new life appears.

King David alludes to this in his Twenty-third Psalm (NASB). “He makes me to lie down in green pastures; he leads me besides the still waters. He restores my soul, He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.”  

Whatever you call it, we all need deliberate down time. Rest. Relaxation. Retreat. Time to think upon God and His word. Talk to Him in prayer.

Personally, I’m terrible at this. I’ve been on-the-go ever since I left the womb. I run around helping others, even at the cost of my own health, both mental and physical. After an entire night in the ER with my sick mom, you need me to teach that Bible study? Sure!

Since mostly retiring during the pandemic, I’ve had plenty of ponder time. For two years I became a virtual shut-in because of severe asthma and avoiding Covid. Slowly and surely, God worked on me, that fallow field. I started to see the deep patterns and meaning present along, but I’d been too busy to notice. All the skills, training and interests of my life fell into place.

If you’re in the throes of a busy life, I urge you to not fear what lies ahead. Add deliberate periods of recovery when time allows. Learn to recognize illness and injuries as something God will use, if He must, to literally ground you and get your full attention.

If you’re in fallow time, know that God is at work, preparing you for His plan. And when you reach that point, like a fallow field plowed for planting, you will be fully equipped and ready to burst forth with His goodness.

 “Sow with a view to righteousness, reap in accordance with kindness. Break up your fallow ground, for it is time to seek the Lord until He comes to rain righteousness on you.” Hosea 10:12 NASB

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

About the Author: Doctor by day, writer by night, Dr. Ronda Wells is an award-winning author who has written inspirational fiction for over twenty-five years. She has helped numerous other Christian writers with creating authentic medical scenes for their books. A lifelong Hoosier, Ronda is a wife, mother and grandmother who lives in Mooresville, Indiana, and loves to travel. She writes fiction and non-fiction stories that illustrate extraordinary faith among the conflicts of ordinary life. Her contemporary inspirational novel, Harvest of Hope, is currently under consideration with a publisher. Visit her website to read a bonus chapter at www.rondawellsbooks.com or connect with her via Linktree at https://linktr.ee/rondawellsbooks.

Join the conversation: Are you in a fallow time?