Remember the law in the Old Testament (Levitcus 25) that mandated that every seventh year was to be a "sabbatical" in which no one was to sow or reap? The land was to lie fallow in remembrance that God is the true owner of the land, and the poeple needed to remember to honor Him. After seven cycles of this "sabbatical year" there was to follow another year called the year of Jubilee. In this year, all debts were to be forgiven, land was to be restored to its original owners, and no one was to sow or plant. The people were to remember that God is forgiving and merciful, and He delights to save those who honor Him.
This week I completed seven cycles of seven years and started my own "year of Jubliee." It is a year of liberation and freeing for me. For years the work in Tera has been a growing weight on my shoulders. In the past few weeks, God has lifted that burden and told me the time has come to move on. He will take the burden and bear it. Maybe the land in Tera needs to lie fallow for a while. We've sown many seeds there, often with sweat, toil, and tears. Now it's time to stop planting and let God work.
It's also a year of rejoicing as I look back on the past 49 years and see what God has done. It hasn't always been easy. I've chosen a road "less traveled" and that has definitely made "all the difference," to quote Robert Frost's famous poem. But there are wonderful memories and lots of laughter amidst the pain and the tears.
But the laborers are too few. There are a few believers in Tera now, but they are not strong and have tentative and marginally trained leaders. Is there anyone out there ready to come in and water the seeds? I long to see the day when the fields will be white to harvest. Actually, that's what the Songhai say when the millet is ripening, that the fields are turning "white." When the stalks dry up and become a drab whitish-brown, they are ready to harvest. May this day come soon for the Songhai. But God has his time, and it will come. Come quickly, Lord Jesus.
In the meantime, we rejoice and proclaim freedom for the captives, the restoring of sight to the blind, the loosing of the chains of those in bondage, and the ability to walk to the lame. This is the year of jubilee. May His mercy and forgiveness be known in all the earth.
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