Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Harvest Field

“I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35b

Too often, I forget to look up at the fields. My head downcast, or so preoccupied with “self,” or looking at somebody elses field, my own easily gets ignored. The glamor of a different ministry becomes appealing, maybe a stage somewhere, or a big platform, or being a missionary across the seas where I would be “super Christian” and be worthy of the title. Not the mundane of another day of home school in March with two feet of snow still left on the ground to battle through to do chores with a predicted high of only thirty-six.
In the midst of my pity party I am impelled to go back and re-read the words of Scripture:

“I tell you, open your eyes and look at the fields! They are ripe for harvest.” John 4:35b

I literally look up and see a teenage boy sitting at the island eating breakfast and reading his Bible. Either way, if even only for the sake of duty to cross it off his daily list, the living words are still being drunk in. I watch him for awhile, wondering where thirteen years have gone. I pray for him once again. No earthly desires top the list, only eternal ones. I beg God, please God, grant salvation to this son, too.
I am reminded of long-ago prayers whispered over sleeping children, standing next to their beds, touching their silent forms that were snuggled under handmade quilts. Prayers, particularly for Trent, that God would use his life in a mighty way for His glory. A prayer I didn't expect to be answered in the way that it was. A prayer that I am scared to request again. My words want to stay guarded before they leave my lips, frightened of what God may ask of me next. But He knows my heart. He knows the uttering of it, He has made the longing for His glory, no matter the cost, to reign.

Fear wants to sneak its way in – fears of what might be for their futures, fears even for this day, fears of more suffering. How quickly my eyes stray from the field where I have been sovereignly placed, stray from my Savior. Quietly, the thoughts of grace eventually calm the fears. I look back to the Bible and read the words again: Jesus answered [the Samaritan woman], “If you knew the gift of God...” (John 4:1) To truly know the gift of God compels me to endure.

In grief there is so much time spent trying to learn how to live without your loved one. Whether you get out of bed or not in the morning, it doesn't make a difference, they are still not here. Every event is met with a brokenness, a neon sign reminding you again and again that all is not right. There is a continuous aching in a mother's heart and arms that refuses to be comforted while your mind is forced to learn to live with the loss lest you literally go insane.
As much as I am learning to live with the loss of my son, I can't escape the continuous thought of Heaven. If Trent were just spending the weekend at his best friend's house, or staying with Aunt Traci for a while, or enjoying time at kid's camp I could associate with where he was. I would not doubt his “being.” Death is only an absence to those left behind, not to the person who died. Trent is still Trent.

As I sat in my recliner late one night last week, enjoying a book in the quiet hush of this old farmhouse, the startling revelation came to me again: Trent is in Heaven. The thought nearly took the wind out of me. Tears soon followed as the reality was fresh yet again. The brevity of this life once more became glaringly apparent. The gospel of John reminds me over and over of Jesus' words, “I am telling you the truth,” and “Believe me, woman” echoing truth today while I sit drinking my coffee and crossing the Bible off my own list. (John 4:21)
So somehow, I try to measure everything against that eternity. The short days here, the lives around me that God has given me the privilege of influencing, my own heart that has nowhere to hide. Like the Samaritan woman, though, (John 4) I quickly tend to change the subject, busy myself with the cares of this world, consume myself here in some new project rather than face the reality of eternal life.
Jesus met people where they were, even sinful women going about their daily duties. There was no prerequisite, other than brokenness, to feel his healing touch. Jesus meets me where I am today. He answers my prayers and renews my longing for His word, He breaks through my vitamin D depraved brain and lights the fire again so that rather than being lukewarm I may be hot. Rather than investing a little into eternity I may see the worth, as much as my human brain can conceive of the idea, of fully longing for redemption, longing for Christ to reign, longing for that glory that Paul talks about so often.