Today I saw a farmer kneeling in his field. On his knees, the bill of his seed corn hat pointed to the ground, shoulders hunched, eyes downcast. The perfect picture of the fervent stature of prayer.
Only his hands were moving. Digging. Testing the soil. Is it dry enough to plant? Is it today, Lord? After waiting over a month can we start the work you've created us to do? Waiting and waiting through storm after storm. Rain. More rain. The ground is saturated, fields turned to lakes. Creeks grown to raging rivers.
Lost were the warm sunny days of Spring. Forsaken in clouds and damp, chilly mornings. You've been sending rain. Rain. Can't plant in the rain. Can't even begin to start. Without the planting there is no harvest. Without the time for sowing, the reeping would be futile.
The farmer was testing the soil. Checking in with creation, if not the Creator, indeed, to see if the time is ripe. I can assure you he's tested it before. And if the forecast for the next week is accurate, he'll test the soil again. After the rain that is to come. He'll once again press his bare hands into the soil and check for moisture. Hoping for dryness. He'll carry a shovel. Push and pull large divets out of the ground to see how it acts. How it reacts.
The farmer then reacts to what he sees. Could be with gratitude. A wide grin to his farm hands, saying, "Let's roll" with a nod of his head. Could be anger and frustration. Why?! What if?! When?! God?!
What if while the farmer is down there on his knees checking the future of his crop, his livelihood, he checks his heart? What if before he rises he praises God for life, acknowleges the supremacy of the Creator and praises Him for seedtime and harvest? What if the solitary farmer was able to put to words an attitute of heart that says, "You, alone, are God. I trust you with this. My life."
What if we did that? What if we copied his stature upon our own test in life? What if we knelt, if we lowered our heads, and humbled our shoulders and dug our fingers into the very thing that seems to be the problem? To force ourselves to look it in the face and then be willing to say to our Creator, "You, alone, are God. I trust you with this. My life."
I saw a farmer kneeling in his field today. And since that moment I haven't been able to get the picture out of my mind. Though I was driving past in my shiny minivan at 40 mph, I could literally feel the man's longing. Oh, to see dirt instead of mud! There is some deep truth God is revealing to me. It takes time to see the whole picture.
This too-much-rain thing is a really big deal here in the land of cornfields. I think God is doing something. And I don't think it's just for the farmers to realize.