Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Life lessons in the fields

After over a weeks absence, I'm going to try to jot down a few thoughts this evening. It's been a full week - a very full week! Working four days a week doesn't leave a whole lot of time for extras! For the most part, the few spare moments I have had have been enjoyed with my family or working outside.

Despite the extreme busyness, I have been thoroughly enjoying working at Everwilde Farms! I've always enjoyed the outdoors, and this time is no different, though I will admit it wasn't too fun getting over the initial sunburn and blistered ears. I'm learning lots, and having a great time at it too!

Amidst the pleasures involved, I won't pretend that it's been all easy. Through some challenging days this last week, and a devotional the Lord's prompted me to pick up again, I feel as if some deeply practical life lessons are being set before me.

Monday was hot...really hot. So hot, that when I took a couple bites of the ice cream bar Steve brought out to me, it plopped right off the stick onto the dusty, hot earth. Hoeing starry campion and lead plant in that heat for seven hours left me aching, blistered, and exhausted. Tuesday was the exact opposite as we planted out 3,000 plugs of spiderwort in the drizzling, bone-chilling rain. Neither of these times were terribly enjoyable - in fact, they provided the perfect opportunity for a nice big ol' pity party.

Tuesday evening, after taking a long hot shower and snuggling under a flannel throw, I picked up "My Utmost For His Highest" by Oswald Chambers. For some reason, I had never been able to get into this devotional until recently. Now every evening there seems to be a hand-picked gem from the Lord. That evening was no different.

[Salvation] is not just a question of being saved from hell, but of being saved so that "the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body." And it is adversity that makes us exhibit His life in our mortal flesh...The only thing that will enable me to enjoy adversity is the acute sense of eagerness of allowing the life of the Son of God to evidence itself in me. No matter how difficult something may be, I must say, "Lord, I am delighted to obey You in this."

"Our circumstances are the means God uses to exhibit just how wonderfully perfect and extraordinarily pure His Son is. Discovering a new way of manifesting the Son of God should make our heart beat with renewed excitement."

Now, in comparing these minor discomforts with the adversities many face, I have no grounds to complain. Everywhere I look, I can find someone who is facing a seemingly insurmountable trial. Yet, I find that if my heart is in tune with the Lord, He often chooses to use these comparatively little things to teach me deep and valuable lessons. Or maybe I should say, reminds me of a truth that He's been trying to teach me for a long time!!! :-)

Joy is not dependent on my circumstances. If I trust in the "good" things that happen in life for my inner well-being, I will constantly be let down. I've been pondering this truth for awhile now, but this time God wanted to bring it a step further. He wanted to change my perspective of those adversities I face, and instead of merely viewing them as something to endure and get through, He wants me to embrace them as an opportunity to show His all-sufficiency. The world can boast of happiness when everything is going well, but what baffles them is true joy coming from the life of one who's life is beset by troubles all around. It's only this perspective that allowed James to exhort, "My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into diverse temptations..." Viewed correctly, trials and adversities are merely a springboard to manifest the life, joy, and character of Christ.

Anyway, these are simply some of the thoughts I've been pondering - many times during the hours I spend in the fields. I'm sure I'll have plenty of opportunities to carry this lesson beyond hot and rainy days. God does not ever promise an easy, happy life here on earth, but He does promise the grace to meet every circumstance with joy!

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