Saturday, May 28, 2011

When It Rains ...

I remember a pastor, years ago, giving a sermon about two farmers praying for rain. I'm sure most of you have heard this story ... both farmers desperately needed rain for their fields. Each begged God for rain. But, only one prepared for the rain. Who trusted God more? The farmer who prayed and prepared? Or, the farmer who prayed ... and did nothing? The farmer who prepared for the rain ... trusted God heard his prayer and had faith God would provide.

I grew up in the heart of Indiana ... where corn is "knee high by the Fourth of July." My father owned a family business from 9 to 5 and spent every other hour tending the farm. That meant keeping a watchful eye on the weather beginning in April of every year. Watch, wait. Watch, wait. Plant, wait. Harvest.

The late April evenings were wrapped in the scent of freshly plowed earth. My father would come in well after dark, wash up and pull a warm plate from the oven. He couldn't eat with us during the planting season. So, mom would keep his supper plate warm in the oven. I remember he always smelled of oil and dirt on those nights and aftershave on Sunday mornings. Those smells were a reminder of our livelihood ... smelling the dirt and oil let me and my sister know farming was steady, constant, good. The smell of aftershave on Sunday mornings meant ... you were grounded in Good.

The spring of 2011 has been difficult in the Heartland. Farmers have been watching, watching and watching. Waiting, waiting and waiting. No planting. Near constant rain has flooded fields and pushed out any chance for plowing and planting. Just when the soil starts to dry and farmers bring out their plows ... rain ... and more rain. By this time, you can usually drive down county roads and see rows of green ... if you drive fast enough, the rows blur in what I always thought compared to Mother Nature's skirt. Long steady stripes of green fanned out for acres ... like a skirt. This year, slop. Muddy, messy, depressing ... constant brown, slime. And, fear begins to seep in. Just like the mud in our fields, it seems to take over everything. Our faith in the seasons ... in God's care ... begins to sink into the mud.

On my way home from work each day, I see trucks parked in the ditches beside fields. The farmers are out walking the fields ... waiting ... for no rain. Praying for no rain. Praying for fields dry enough to run a plow and plant crops.

It's in times like these ... we need faith, joy ... laughter. Today, on Facebook, one of my friends posted a video of her husband. Their family lives on a farm and depends on that farm for their livelihood. Rather than sinking into the mud of anxiety ... he went skiing. And ... we all laughed. We needed that laughter. It's good medicine.

"Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass...It's about learning to dance (or ski) in the rain."
— Vivian Greene

I know Ped and Lindsey are praying for the rain to stop. While they pray ... they trust. Thank you ... Ped and Lindsey!

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