Let me begin by saying I know NOTHING about farming. I know that I don’t want to live on a farm, but I do enjoy gazing at farmland on a road trip. And when there’s an entire field with bales of hay spread out in nice rows, I almost gasp and beg to stop and exclaim, “I need a picture!” I have so many photos of bales (or wheels) of hay. I love them all. And recently, we walked by a huge field and my husband hoisted me on top of one!
I have no idea why a field of hay rolled up in bales is so attractive to me, but it is. It’s a scene that just speaks peace to my soul. It’s one of those scenes that makes me want to pull over and stay a while, to empty my busy mind, and look out over these huge objects as they sit, seemingly immovable, softly calling me to sit a while, as well.
And then, this summer I decided to look up hay and anything interesting about those bales! And what I found spoke to me:
While those scenes are beautiful, I read that those wheels cannot lay there very long. They have to be moved.
The plants underneath get smothered.
Smothered plant areas make great places for weeds and dandelions to grow.
Leaving bales in place too long can reduce the next crop’s yield by 25% or more!
Bales left too long in a field soften and flatten, and cause exposure to the elements – thus loss.
After I read about the danger of leaving the bales in place too long, I thought of that scene in the bible where Jesus’ friends were with him atop a mountain where all seemed pretty picture perfect. They asked if they could just stay there and hang out and live…and Jesus then escorted them down the mountain back to real life.
I told my husband just the other day that I wish life would just stand still, sometimes. (Of course, I’d like Covid to be gone, first). On days when my kids are well, money is in the bank, health is good, and prayers are being answered, I’d just like life to stop. I want to stay right here and not age any more, not see my kids go through any future troubles, and not experience any more loss of any kind.
In other words, I’d like life to be a field with beautiful hay bales for sitting and gazing and enjoying. But there’s this process called refinement, transfiguration, healing, and setting up an eternity with no more sorrow that still has to take place.
I love it that Jesus took his friends up to that mountain, but it wasn’t to have them build a tent that excluded those down below. It was to encourage them to reenter the villages, taking with them the great scene they had witnessed, all in the strength they received from time with their Lord.
I was encouraged that day when I sat on top of that hay bale. It was fun. I wanted to stay there a while. But those bales have to be moved, so that growth and life and strength can take place…until it’s time to roll out the hay once again.
He always has scenes and oases of rest that he calls us to…green pastures to lie down in…for strength and renewal. And strength and renewal is never just for ourselves, but it’s to hoist up a friend, encourage a neighbor, or send out a strong arm to the fallen.
I will continue to enjoy country drives and hay bales, but I’ll also have a new respect for what they mean and why they have to be moved…so that what’s underneath can survive and then thrive.