It’s a “Marchy” day out on Bittersweet Farm. The sun is out this morning and the wind is loud in the trees.
Providential Moonlight. The other night I was awake in the night and thinking about some burdens. I have had to deal with some physical pain and with a large family and a church to pastor, there are always many things to keep you praying. Lying in bed, thinking and praying, my heart was burdened, maybe a little heavy.
We draw the curtain when we sleep at night but, suddenly, there was a light in my eyes. The curtain had pulled away from the wall just a little and the full moon as in the perfect place in the sky to shine through that small opening. The light of the moon fell on our bed and across my face. It seemed to me a comforting providence that even though we closed the curtain, still moon was in the perfect place at that very time to shine into the room. I’m not sure you will understand the force of it, but the Lord knows how I love the beauty of the moonlight.
News from Afar. It’s good to know that what you do is being used of the Lord. Good to know that there are people who are following the Lord because of your ministry and your testimony. It is good to know there are people who tune in every week and watch the messages. Today I heard from people in North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia.
Genesis and Revelation. David came to visit me in my study today. We had a rich hour of fellowship. He told me something interesting I want to pass along to you. A friend once told him that if you want to give a person who is fairly young in the Lord a good place to begin reading the Bible you should tell them to read Genesis, the first book of the Bible and Revelation, the last book of the Bible. That way you will see where you came from and where you are going and you will be well ahead of most people in the world who really are not sure where they came from or where they are going. That advice had the ring of truth to it. Not a bad idea. Right now I am preaching/teaching my way through the book of Revelation at Bethel Church.
Over The Corn Crib Door
It’s an afternoon late in May. For now, the chores are done. We rinse off the lunch dishes. Grandpa says, “Follow me,” and starts off across the yard. We get cane poles and bobbers and hooks from the corner of the garage. We dig some worms and put them in an old Maxwell House can. We start down the dirt path to the pond.
It’s shirt sleeve warm and sunny but not hot. Around us gentle hills rise green with the fresh growth of spring. A row of Hickory’s grow tower over us on a ridge halfway up the hill north of the pond. South of the pond the road passes. Only a few cars a day pass this way. White strands of clouds drift across the vast azure sky. The sun warms my bare arms, my neck and shoulders. The long winter has passed and I welcome the blossoming Dogwood, the birdsong, the sun on my head, and an afternoon on the farm.
Grandpa reminds me how to bait my hook so the bait doesn’t “worm” off. He shows me how to set the bobber depth. He reminds me not to whip the line over my head. If I try to cast the line I will likely hook my ear or eye. “Just swing it out in front of you. That will do just fine.”
I wake up hyper in the morning and have to force myself to go to sleep at night for fear I will miss something. Grandpa asks me to repeat what he has told me. I can tell he wonders if I am listening. He says, “Fishing is waiting. A lot of patient waiting. Don’t look away from he bobber. Don’t pull it out of the water. If you get a bite it will go clear under. You will know it. If you get a nibble be ready, but don’t pull it up until the bobber goes clear under the water, then give it a little tug to set the hook and steadily draw him in.”
“But you have to be patient,” He says. I have in my mind the idea of constant motion. Somewhere in my memory a man is waving a fly rod over a mountain stream and it seems like it would be easier if I could be doing something other than trying hard not to look away from my bobber.
At the time I don’t realize that there will be times when I am my grandpas age that I would consider it a rare and wonderful thing to have an afternoon by the edge of the pond with an eager little grandchild and nothing more to do than watch the bobber float of the surface of a farm pond and bask in the priceless warmth of a May afternoon.
I don’t have to wait long. Soon after I swing my line out into the water the bobber starts to move. “Watch your bobber, Kenny. You’re getting a bite.”
Suddenly the bobber goes clear under and I have a fish on. Grandpa sets his pole in a pipe he has driven into the ground at a 45 degree angle and comes over to coach me.
Soon I have coaxed the fish to shore. I lift it from the water.
“Whoh. That is a nice crappie, a nice crappie,” He says. “Nice catch.” He gets a small tape-measure from his pocket and declares the fish over 11 inches long. I don’t have much experience but judging from him enthusiasm I think he is either patronizing me knowing I’m not really much of a fisherman. I suppose he is trying to encourage me, or it really is an unusual catch.
Back at the house we clean the fish and then he take the severed head and says, “Follow me.” He walks out to the corn crib and he nails the head up, mouth open, over the door, next to the head of a big bass. At that point I realize it must have been a genuinely good catch or it would have have been displayed with other trophy catches. Later, when Dad arrives, we re-tell the story and we take a walk out to the corn crib and we stand and admire the fish-mouth tacked up over the door.
That must have been about fifty-five summers ago but the memory came back to me the other morning while I was driving along the highway.
I believe kids really need the adults in their lives to celebrate their victories well like my Grandpa did on that May afternoon a half-century ago.
“Rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” (Romans 12:15)
March 15, 2021