While I was in high school, my mom, dad & I decided we’d start farming. Well…really…it was my dad. My mom and I were ‘the help’. The pay wasn’t too bad…you know, the usual “we buy groceries and put a roof over your head and buy you clothes…” stuff. The hours were the killer, though. Who knew when the farm would call.
We started with a small garden. Seemed like every year that thing doubled in size. You name it…we grew it. And, ate it. When the garden came in, we had the usual ‘vegetable dinner’. No meat…just every vegetable we grew prepared Southern-style on the table in front of us. We needed help to get up from the table.
Our cattle farming started like the garden, too. Since my dad was raised farming in west Tennessee, I think he had a hankerin’ to re-visit the good ol’ days. So…he announced that we were gonna get some cows. Just a couple…maybe a few. Nothing major.
Our first cow…a baby calf…was just a week or so old and had been orphaned. My sister, a nurse in the veterinary school at Mississippi State, along with her husband, brought it to us after work in the back of her volkswagon.
From there, we acquired a few more calves, and we endured bottle feedings, the scours, penicillin shots, and so on. It was ’round the clock. Months passed, and seasons changed, and then changed again, and it was time to think about a suitor for our young heifers. My papaw, who lived in West Tennessee, had arranged for us to purchase a black angus bull…we just had to go and get it.
So, my dad and I drove 4 hours one way to put a 1000 lb. animal with an attitude in the back of a Chevrolet pick up with side boards. The ride home was an adventure and seemed twice as long. Yet, we arrived with the bull and put him in to pasture with our heifers.
Our farming operation grew. A bigger garden, hay hauling, bush hogging, wood-chopping, tractor-fixing and about 20 head of cattle kept us busy. And, then, throw in the occasional midnight maternity visit for a bawling heifer…our farming operation had become…
…most of all, a joy.
There was much learned in watching the struggle of new life emerging, or in placing the last bale of hay in the barn, or underneath the oil pan of a tractor, running from yellow jackets, or in the two glowing eyes spotted at the other end of pitch-dark pasture. And, there was much joy sitting in the swing underneath a wysteria arbor with family and friends after sharing a garden harvest of vegetables and corn bread.
Our heavenly Father is like that.
He takes pleasure in his creation and He rejoices in me and you. The prophet Isaiah said to God’s people,
…as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride,
so shall your God rejoice over you. Isaiah 62:5 ESV
He watches over us, cares for us, and, while we were once rebels to anything and everything that God is, he died for us. His willingness to leave heaven and come to this earth in the form of a man, live a sinless life, die on the cross, and rise three days later, validating everything he said and did…
…is a joy!