The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe…
"Fields of Harvest, Fields of Flood"
The author David Needham recounts the experience of two Christian farm families whose lands lay adjacent to one another. Both families found themselves in dire financial straits during a particular harvest season. One family desperately needed a heavy soaking rain to save their wheat crop, while the other required several days of dry weather to make possible the harvest of tomatoes ready for picking. Both families prayed, but only the wheat farmer's pleas seemed to be answered. Rain brought his crop through to harvest, but destroyed the tomato farmer's fruits. Needham continues the narrative by considering both families five years later. "Remember what happened all those years ago?" said the wheat farmer to his wife and children. "God heard our prayers, saved our wheat, and brought us prosperity! Let us pray and give thanks!" The tomato farmer also remembered the fateful night when the rains fell despite the family's prayers. "My loved ones, it's been five years now since our crop was destroyed. Things have been very difficult since then. We lost the farm, and have struggled in many ways. But haven't we found the Lord to be so good and faithful in our challenges! Let us pray and give thanks!"
"This poor man cried and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles" (Psalm 34:6).
"God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble" (Psalm 46:1).
Whose prayers were answered in Needham's narrative? We might think that only the wheat farmer and his family received God's provision. However, if the tomato farmer's family found the Lord to be "a very present help in trouble," might it be that the Lord also fulfilled their request, albeit in a very different measure and mode of grace than hoped for? Consider the Apostle Paul's experience. He sought removal of painful thorns (II Corinthians 12:7-9). He received grace that could not have been known without the thorns. Paul's prayers were not directly answered. However, the Apostle actually received a gracious response from God. Certainly it did not feel like it in the moment, but our brother of old would tell us that grace with the thorns resulted in a far more glorious outcome than comfort without the thorns.
If allowed to look back on our earthly lives from Heaven, we will doubtless be grateful for answered prayers, and for sincere requests that seemed unanswered, but actually resulted in a provision "exceeding abundantly above all we ask or think" (Ephesians 3:20). Rescued wheat led to praise and thanksgiving. Drowned tomatoes resulted in the same. Only a God faithful, present, and involved beyond imagining could elicit such response in both scenarios. From our troubles, or in our troubles. We will find the same blessed Lord able to keep our hearts in peace and our minds filled with wonder in fields of harvest and fields of flood.
"They joy before Thee according to the joy in harvest."
"The Lord sitteth upon the flood, yea, the Lord sitteth King forever."
Weekly Memory Verse
Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen."
(I Timothy 6:17)