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I love envisioning being part of God’s vineyard.  Imagining our Father God the loving, caring master gardener, Jesus The Vine and we, God’s children the branches.  (see John 15)

In light of that, when I read Psalm 102:4 “My heart is blighted and withered like grass; I forget to eat my food.” I had a quick thought. As part of God’s vineyard in 2021, I wonder if we, His people are battling a blight: a blight of cynicism.

Cynicism is the opposite of hope.

A blight will injure or disease a plant.  It will distort or deform the flowers or fruit.  Often aphids are the culprit.  They are tiny insects that feed by sucking nutrients and rich liquid out of plants.  Tiny aphids multiply quickly.

Precious child of God, what is the state of your heart today?  Are you flourishing with hope or withered from disappointment and discouragement?  Is your heart battling the blight of cynicism?

Paul Miller in, “A Praying Life” suggests that one source of cynicism is from scar tissue of the heart.  Thick tissue builds up from disappointment from what we perceive as unanswered prayer. The layers toughen over time and we become numb.  We do not even want to pray. And we lose our childlike faith.  Hope gets sucked out of us.  We become cynical in our prayer life.  “Why pray? God doesn’t care. It will never change. God, if you loved me….”

I wonder if the aphids penetrate when our object of hope shifts from who God is to what God could or should do for us?  When we get what we want, our faith is strong.  When we don’t get what we want, our faith is weak.  And yet the Bible states that God never changes.  Nothing, no circumstance of life can separate us from the love of God. (see Romans 8:38-39)

LOVE: a feeling of warm personal attachment or deep affection toward a person

May I suggest a dose of antibiotic for your blighted heart? For a few days, don’t look at your prayer lists.  Instead, focus on God not what you want from Him. Read your Bible and use the English dictionary to define one word a day that describes God from what you read. Psalm 100:5 says He is good, loving, kind and faithful.

GOOD: right, proper, excellent, safe, sound

Then ask the Holy Spirit to help you believe and soak in these rich nutrients. We must kill these life-sucking aphids and replace our nutrients with God’s life-giving words from the Bible. Let scripture be the antidote to a blighted and cynical heart.

Father I am numb.  I don’t even want to pray.  And yet, I want to want you more than what you can give me. I want to be like a child full of hope and curiosity about you. Help me believe you are good.  You are sound.  I can trust you.  Oh Abba, please soften my heart and make it more childlike, free and full of hope; believing in your goodness. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you.  I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26.

If we don’t replace our nutrients with truth from the Bible—eat our food— we and others will suffer.  Aphids transmit viruses between plants and also attract other insects that prey on them.  Cynicism spreads…. God’s vineyard of 2021 is suffering and His little, grafted-in branches need His help. I know I do.  The blight is bad.

Fighting the blight,

Lynn Jackson
Thrive Leadership Foundation