Wednesday, June 23, 2010
Harvest Time at the Farm
It's harvest time at the farm. I'm older now, about nine I think. My uncertain fingers grasp grapple with husks and silk as my brothers cut and scrape the corn off the husks. Some of the canning covering the end of the table in the front yard are empty, but not for long. We take turns scooping the corn into the jars. After awhile I put several filled jars on a cookie sheet and, carefully balancing them, carry them into the house.
A blast of heat hits me as I enter the kitchen. The galvanized boiler on the back of the blackened kitchen range bubbles and smacks. Flames leap from the stove as Mother lifts the lid and shoves in more wood. Sweat drips off her forehead, stray hairs straggle from the bun on the back of her head.
All of sudden she burst into song. "Oh, it's hard to be a Christian. Oh, it's hard to be a Christian. Oh, it's hard to be a Christian day by day."
I stare at her. Well if it's so hard be a Christian, why bother?
I've often looked back at that memory. I understand now what she meant. Sometimes it is hard to keep persevering, to keep on when everything inside wants to curl up and quit. Sometimes I'd rather have the quiet rest -- that place of intimacy and love I experience in my quiet times. I want to hear My Lord's whisper "I will give you rest." And He does. Except the other times are there, too. I only wish I knew how to put the two together.
I have a feeling Paul struggled in this area, too. He writes in 2 Timothy 4:10, "And for this we labor and strive." Colossians 1:29 says, "I labor, struggling with all His energy, which works so powerfully in me." Paul is laboring, but because he's in partnership with the Spirit of God, there's also rest and strength.
When we can't hang on any longer, we can cry out. He embraces us with mighty love and in His right hand is power and strength and mercy and grace. Our God is near to each of His children in their struggles.
He's not there just for the crisis. He's present for the dailies and the plain hard work of just living.