This is, without a doubt, my favorite time of year in Indiana. The fields are bursting with life in perfect, neat rows that stretch in every direction as far as the eye can see. Acre after acre of God’s miraculous provision and faithfulness on full display. The sun rises early, and when I do the same, I’m treated to the images of farmers, who have been up much longer than I, riding tractors and hauling farm implements to keep life springing up from the ground.
I spent a portion of last summer talking to farmers, real estate agents, and agriculture experts in the area so I could know more about what I was seeing. I understand the basic principles of “seed time and harvest,” but wanted to really understand the specific challenges of the farmers here in Sheridan and the surrounding areas. I was blown away at everything that’s involved in growing the “simple crops” around here of corn and soy beans.
I was astonished to learn the average farmer in this area will spend between $250-380k just to get the seed in the ground. This isn’t the cost of watering or fertilizing or pesticides or harvesting—just simply putting seed in the soil. The cost generally gets higher if the farmers are working with an abbreviated window for sowing, generally due to weather conditions. They’ll rent more equipment and perhaps even hire more help because they understand the importance of seasons and cycles. If you don’t catch the cycle at the right time, you have to wait. If you miss the timing, you don’t get the opportunity to make it up until the next season. An entire year of harvest could be lost because of poor planning or bad timing.
As I was discovering this, the Lord asked me, “Why would a farmer spend hundreds of thousands of dollars with no real guarantee that everything is going to go just right?”
I responded with, “Well, maybe it’s a calculated risk? They know a certain percentage won’t yield, but the math still makes sense, somehow. Or maybe they just trust that You’ll take care of them? Or…”
“Or,” I felt Him interrupt, “they simply understand the cycle of things. When you understand how the cycle works and what makes it work, you can plant and know the harvest will be there.”
You have to pay attention to the cycles of life. And you have to get the timing right. Because there’s only a certain window of opportunity to be able to benefit from and operate within the cycle. This is why we receive the caution in Hebrews, “To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts…”
Today. We don’t have time to spend years contemplating the next move. We’ve got to be prepared and ready so that, when His voice speaks in our life, we are able to seize that moment.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the LORD; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season…” (Psalm 1:1-3).
You’ve got to know the timing and understand the cycle. Otherwise you have to wait until the cycle plays out and you’ve missed an entire season of what God wanted for you. Like a tree planted by the rivers of water, we too, have a season to bring forth fruit.
The Bible tells us of a man who sat by the waters of healing for 38 years because he couldn’t get the timing right. Every year, at a “certain season,” the angel of the Lord would come and trouble the water. If you were quick enough you could step in and be healed. But this man missed it for 38 consecutive years. Each time he failed, he was doomed to repeat the cycle.
I can tell you that because of stubbornness and wanting to do things my way, I’ve missed out on some seasons of effectiveness in my life. I didn’t understand that you can’t just do God’s will and work any old time you finally decide to act on it. You have to do it in season. In fact, it’s taken me an embarrassingly long time to catch on. But now that I’ve got it, and now that I understand it, and now that I’m looking for the cycle—like many others who have caught on—I tend to get a little radical.
Because I’ve missed seasons and cycles before, you might find me at times acting like the woman with the issue of blood—crawling on my hands and knees to get to Him if I have to. Because I’ve missed out on cycles of effectiveness, you might find me acting like Blind Bartameus, crying out, “Jesus! Thou son of David! Have mercy on me!” People who have missed out on what God had for them in the past because they were slow to act, once they learn the cycle, tend to act on the next opportunity with a sense of urgency.
All that said, understanding cycles also means you have to be able to recognize negative cycles. Generational curses where patterns of behavior are repeated until something disruptive is introduced to change the cycle. Don’t believe in generational curses? What about Abraham and Isaac?
Genesis 26 give us the account of Isaac in Gerar. When he’s asked about his wife, Rebekkah, he says, “Oh, that’s not my wife. That’s my sister.”
Now, it’s not a shock that he lied, necessarily. What’s astonishing is that it’s the same lie, being told in the same place, for the same reasons as his father, Abraham. What isn’t shocking is that it produced identical results. It’s a cycle. A cycle of frustration, and a cycle of fear. And when it’s repeated, it yields the same results. More frustration. More fear.
“And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so” (Genesis 1:11).
Isaac’s lie produced the same thing as Abraham’s lie because seed reproduces after its kind. This is precisely why we find Paul instructing us to mark those that cause trouble in the church—it multiplies. A little leavening leaveneth the entire lump. Everything reproduces after its kind. If you plant tomatoes, you get tomatoes. If you sow jealousy, lying, hypocrisy; you’re going to reap more of the same.
We’re dealing with a generational curse. A cycle that hasn’t been broken. A sin that hasn’t been dealt with. A pattern within the family that has the potential to be its ruin. It’s David and Bathsheba repeated in Amnon and Tamar. The cycle has to be dealt with or shows up again in Solomon and the women he allowed to become his downfall. There are cycles that, left unbroken, have the potential—if not the design—to destroy your family.
But can I tell you that God is greater than that cycle? It can be broken and a new cycle can be established.
Breaking the Cycle
When it comes to spiritual warfare, it’s not like natural warfare. You don’t always use the weapon that makes the most sense to bring the victory.
“Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him” (Genesis 26:12).
Somehow Isaac was able to break the cycle. He sowed in a time of famine and drought and received a hundredfold crop. When everyone else was starving, Isaac was blessed. How is this possible? Just as cursed seed reproduces after its kind, so does blessed seed. When the first Adam messed up for all humanity, and generation after generation was cursed; it took Jesus, the second Adam, to break the cycle. A blessed seed.
So how do you get a blessed seed and disrupt cursed cycles? The secret is found in Genesis 26:18.
“And Isaac digged again the wells of water, which they had digged in the days of Abraham his father; for the Philistines had stopped them after the death of Abraham: and he called their names after the names by which his father had called them.”
Isaac got back to the foundations. He got back to his father’s blessings. He had to dig through all the dirt the enemy had thrown at his father, and had to dig through to the Truth that had been covered up, until the water began to bubble and flow up through those wells, and the water from those blessed wells got into everything.
Do you need to break a cycle that isn’t yielding desirable fruit? Learn from Isaac. Even if you’ve found yourself repeating the behaviors and habits of the past, you can break the cycle! Dig. Get back to the foundations. Cursed seed becomes blessed seed when watered with the Living Water!