By John Blase
There are a handful of baseball movies that I could watch over and over and over again. There’s The Natural and Bull Durham, but my favorite? Field of Dreams—that story of an Iowa farmer named Ray Kinsella (played by Kevin Costner) who starts hearing a voice in his cornfield: “If you build it, he will come.” Ray interprets this to mean he’s supposed to build a baseball diamond in the middle of his cornfield, which he does, much to the ridicule of some relatives and most of the townspeople. It’s a completely nonsensical decision that Ray decides to follow through with anyway. He trusts the voice.
Of course, the corker is that while Ray at first thinks it’s all about giving Shoeless Joe Jackson another chance to play ball, what Ray finally discovers is that it’s actually about healing the wound between him and his dad. As Ray and his dad “have a catch,” the sun sets gently on that Iowa cornfield/baseball field, and at least for a moment, all’s right with the world.
The prophet Jeremiah had a “field of dreams” moment, of sorts. But instead of being situated in the middle of Iowa, his field was in Anathoth. The voice of the Lord came to Jeremiah and told him that a cousin would offer to sell the field and that Jeremiah was to buy it. At the time, with Jerusalem under siege and Jeremiah in prison, the purchase of that field was, seemingly, quite the nonsensical act. However, the voice behind it all wasn’t some ghostly cinematic whisper. The voice Jeremiah heard was the voice of the Lord. And he trusted the voice: “Oh, Lord GOD! You yourself made the heavens and earth by your great power and with your outstretched arm” (Jeremiah 32:17).
The field in Anathoth represented the redemption and restoration that God had planned for His people, that after all the heartache and hardship of their captivity, He would bring them home and make an everlasting covenant with them where they would be His people and He would be their God. Essentially, Jeremiah heard God say, “Buy the field, and watch what wonders I will do.” So, for seventeen shekels of silver, Jeremiah did just that, trusting in the great power of God’s outstretched arm to indeed bring good from disaster, restore their fortunes, and bring them home to a place of safety and promise.
It would be like a dream come true. The wound between the people and the Father would be healed. And at least for a time, God’s people would seek His face and worship Him.
Written by John Blase