Editor’s note: Overseas missioner Anna reflects on the past two months quarantined in Bolivia through the song “Springtime” by Chris Renzema.
Like all of you, we have been living in quarantine for the last two months in Bolivia. With that comes a lot of uncertainty and free time. I challenged you in my last blog post to follow Winnie the Pooh’s advice and “make the best of something out of nothing.” One of the ways I have made something out of nothing is through worshipping the Lord. Playing guitar and singing words of praise to God is one way I deepen my faith and connect to our Father in Heaven on a personal level. When I strum the strings on my guitar and sing lyrics of worship, my mind is free and wanders nowhere else except to the beauty and wonder of our Lord. God allows me to escape the uncertain world full of anxiety and fear and sit in His presence. This escape to the Divine World is a necessity in a time such as this.
One song I have been clinging to is titled “Springtime” by Chris Renzema. I first want to point us down to the lyrics in the bridge. He writes,
“Come tend the soil, come tend the soil of my soul.”
This analogy of God as a gardener that Renzema draws is a good one to embrace. By definition, the verb ‘tend’ means “to look after; watch over and care for; minister to or wait on with service; to handle or attend to.” When gardeners are at work with their plants, they must care for the earth in which the plant resides. To care for the earth, you must nourish the plant by giving it water and ensuring it has ample sunshine. For the plant to grow and produce fruit, it must have a stable and healthy foundation. That stable and healthy foundation is the soil and is what the gardener tends to for the plant to flourish.
‘Soul,’ by definition, means “the spiritual part of humans regarded in its moral aspect.” Our soul is the space within where we feel spiritual experiences and where our moral compass is grown. So, to invite God to tend the soil of our souls, is to relinquish our own will to develop our spiritual direction and moral compass. When invited in, the Lord will “watch over and care for” our souls. He will “minister and attend to” us. Our souls will be directed by the Lord’s own moral compass, and in turn, His will becomes ours. Our spiritual life will also be fed the necessary nourishment of water and light for our whole life to produce spiritual fruits.
As when the gardener tends to plants by providing water and sunlight, God provides us with His living water and light of a new life in Him. Renzema writes,
Plants will flourish and bloom with water and light, and our spiritual souls will flourish with Jesus, as He is the living water and light for the human race. (John 4:7-15, John 8:12).
After allowing the Lord to tend the soil of our souls, we will experience what Renzema mentions throughout the rest of his song. The lyrics weave in and out of this idea of our souls needing attended to by God the Father. I will mention just one more line…
“The longer the quiet, the louder the chorus.”
The quiet for me right now resembles this life in quarantine. Like I mentioned in my last blog post, the city is much quieter than what we are used to. I am living within the confines of my quiet home and striving to stay connected with the Lord and His peace and pace for mission. The longer I relish in God’s peace and pace, the louder the chorus will be. And what is this chorus? Well, take a listen to Chris Renzema’s song to find out! The chorus of his song describes what we should feel when we escape this exile of a hurting world.
“Springtime” by Chris Renzema https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8wRprU4988
Challenge: One way the Lord tends the soil of my soul is through worship, and I challenge you to also take space and time to be with the Lord through song. Do nothing else but listen, and allow the lyrics to wash over you and release your mind and thoughts to God. Some of my other recent favorites are:
“Echo” by Elevation Worship
“All the Time” by Elle Limebear
“Let the Light In” by Cody Carnes
“Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus” by Shane & Shane
“In the Meantime” by Jess Ray