Thursday, July 28, 2011


Buzzing home from errands in town one afternoon earlier this summer, I crested a small hill on Highway 21 and found the road barricaded by a 32-row planter. A huge tractor lumbered down the highway, dragging the immense piece of farm equipment. Well ahead of the tractor, another farmer drove a work truck, lights flashing, warning oncomers to find a driveway where they could pull off the road. The planter, it stretched from the white line on the right to the white line on the left. Our max speed as we doodled along for a couple of miles? I think maybe 15 miles per hour. We don't have shoulders on the highway out here, either, so there was nothing doing but slowing down and enjoying the ride.

Actually, I find ginormous farm machinery a bit fascinating. And there's something about the smell of diesel...not pleasant, maybe nostalgic?...perhaps it reminds me vaguely of pleasant times from my childhood. And then there's the whole thing about working the soil, planting the seeds, harvesting the crops: farming, although dirty and back-breaking work, really is a romantic occupation.

Yesterday morning, I glanced out the kitchen window toward the highway. A long line of cars, backed up out of sight, snaked along at a snail's pace. What's the hold up? Is this a funeral procession? I scanned the trail of cars and, just over the next hill, discovered the problem - a house in the road. Someone was moving a house. No, not a trailer. Not a double-wide. Not a modular home. A house. The front of the house bore scars where the porch had recently been removed, no doubt especially for this relocation. The creaking behemoth filled the entire roadway, hanging off on either side, lurching along at no more than 10 miles an hour. Three miles outside of Hornbeak, this slow parade still had a long way to go.

Some folks like the idea of living in the country, but then show their true colors when confronted with the particular realities of country living. Big machinery, slow traffic, mile-after-mile of snaking along behind a smoke-bellowing tractor...all a normal part of life out here in the sticks. Occasionally, I've seen someone lay on their horn (Do they really think the dude on the tractor can even hear them?), or weave agitatedly from side to side (as if there were a way around the blockage? Well, NO!), or even flail an arm out the window as if to say, "Get a move on up there!" Natives, we roll down the windows, turn off the AC, and turn up the country's time to get out of the fast lane and enjoy a slow ride.

Seems in life, I've often found myself barreling along lickety-split, busy working my plan and getting things done. Then unexpectedly, it's like I crest a hill and find a 32-row planter plodding along in front of me - Screee! Hit the brakes! Might as well be a wall. My plans, the important things I wanted to accomplish, the deadlines, the all goes out the window while I creep along riding the brake pedal.

Sure, I like the idea of trusting God...but sometimes God uses the difficult realities of living this Christian life to expose my true colors. He sends roadblocks, trials and difficulties, to show me the real condition of my heart. So what's my attitude then? Do I shake my fist at God for allowing circumstances to mess up my plans? Do I weave back and forth, mentally pacing as I look for a way around this obstacle? Do I lay on the horn - complaining, whining, bemoaning my unfortunate state?

Or do I trust God's sovereignty and goodness and thank Him for the opportunity to slow down, breathe the fresh air, and listen to the music?

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