Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Just Another Walk

Most people wouldn't consider me very sentimental. I don't mind if my birthday is forgotten, and I'm not one to keep lots of mementos from childhood. But I am sentimental about some things, especially about places that have been meaningful to me.

There were six things left on my to-do list tonight, but I decided that none of them was important enough to keep me indoors on a beautiful evening. So I went for a walk. As I meandered around the farm, I began thinking about the year that I've lived here, and the memories that saturate those fields. Most of the fields have one of my thinking spots, places that I've gone to meditate or pray. And almost every field has been a battleground where some particular victory was won. Many of them are associated in my mind with some verse of Scripture that the Lord sent to me in a time of need.

The first place to which my feet turned was the Psalm 25:12 field, where last summer I spent many evenings praying about the decision whether or not to move up here. So often the Lord drew near to me there, and thrilled my heart with His love and care for me.

From there, I crossed a couple hill pastures, and turned to follow the dusty road out to the orchard. I went by the place where I watched the sun rise one wintry morning, and learned a great lesson about hope, as the sun burst in warm glory upon a frigid landscape.

The orchard was one place where I had cried out, "Why, God!?" about a friend's difficult circumstances--and He answered something along the lines of John 13:7, "What I do you do not realize now, but you will understand hereafter."

A little further on, and I came to the field where I had once lain in the grass and admired the blue sky above, and realized just a bit more, how much I am loved and cared for by my heavenly Father.

I lingered a while in the last field, my steps slowing down as I crossed windrows of hay. I paused and lifted a bunch of hay, damp with dew, but light and soft, to my nose. The dusky, sweet smell that I love so much, filled my nostrils. It was not hard at all to relive a day last summer, when the Lord proved Himself to me in that field, and I gained a new perspective on James 5:17. The grass had lain there in just the same manner on that day, when a friend and I stopped in the midst of morning milking to ask the Lord for a dry day so that we could get the hay in. The God of the universe, the One Who controls the rise and fall of nations, and the movement of the galaxies, had bent down to hear the plea of two young people in manure-spattered clothes, and heard their prayer over the clicking milkers and swishing tails and buzzing flies. He made sure that the downpours went around that field, just close enough for us to see it raining a mile or two away, and we got all the hay in.

As I walked through that field tonight, it really hit me. The Lord Jesus became a curse for me, let His blood stream forth for my sins. Over and over God has proven His love and care for me, even in these very fields--and here I've been so worried that He will overlook some of the needs I think that I have. I've been listening to recordings of Isaiah and Ezekiel lately, and one of the biggest things that struck me is that God CARES intensely about His people, and about their relationship with Him. He eagerly desires that they should know Him, that they should recognize that He alone is God, that they should walk in company with Him. What an amazing thought, that One so high, should care about those who are so insignificant. I could care less what an ant thinks about me. But somehow God is not content until His people recognize Him for Who He is, and rest in trust upon Him. The pleading of His heart toward Israel, as recorded by the prophets, now seemed, in a way to be directed to me. As though God were saying, "Don't you SEE! I'll take care of you! You truly shall not want. I shall freely give you, with Christ, all things! You don't have to worry at all, my child."

Now that place has become my Romans 8:32 field.

It was getting pretty dark as I headed home, crossing through the 1 Corinthians 13 field, where I had meditated on that passage while raking hay, and realized in a new way the pain and joy of loving like the Lord Jesus. I didn't have time to visit the Matthew 11:30 field, or to stop by one of my many favorite haunts, where the hemlock trees shoot so far upward, taking my thoughts toward heaven with them. I did slow down to admire the moon, which was in the process of lifting a gauzy veil of cloud away from it's face. It lay like a radiant opal, set in a mother-of-pearl sky, where it's yellow glow picked up hints of pink and green and blue. The delicate tops of a couple of evergreen trees provided a perfect frame around the whole scene, and I could not help but admire the God Who had given me that special glimpse of beauty.

Last of all, I crossed the field where the Lord had given me definite peace about moving up here. I can't help but be glad for that leading. So many lessons there have been, so many challenges and victories, so many tears and so many smiles. So many memories that will live on long after the farm is gone. It was in that field that the Lord also gave me John 21:16, which paraphrased sounded to me like, "Rachel, do you love Me more than these? More than these fields, more than the thousand things that you love about this place, more than the people who have made it home to you, more than the friends you have made here?"

The answer is yes. But I'm awfully thankful for those things too.

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