Mind The Outcome
During a stroll recently while on a much needed time of “R&R”, I came along a beautiful property. It was picturesque with rolling pastures and horses grazing in the shadow of large oak trees. Having walked the same path over several days, I again feasted my eyes on the carefully manicured farm. It even included an open stall area with a wooden box perched high containing hay. I imagined the sight could double as an ornamental display in December to celebrate the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
As I approached, I noticed a one-legged man attempting with great struggle to “right” himself atop the large tractor. I called out to him, “what a beautiful property you have, it obviously has been a great work.” He quickly agreed and then as I glanced again to pass him by, I noticed that the rear wheel of the tractor’s trailer had come off and was laying in the field. I quickly asked, “do you want some help with that wheel, putting it back on”, to which he said-yes, that would be great.
Pulling and tugging and hammering at the greasy wheel, farmer Lloyd and I came to know one another. With me at the tractor wheel shifting the gears, we worked to align the two pieces of equipment and allow the wheel to seat properly. After a long, hot struggle, the alignment was complete and our success could be celebrated. Leaving the pasture and heading for the road, farmer Lloyd called me over again and said you look a lot like my daughter. What a compliment, as we laughed together: she was 10 years my younger!
As the farmer continued, he described his recent challenges with his wife who had been diagnosed with stage IV cancer just several months earlier. Just as he shared this sorrow, Sara (his wife) came rolling up on a golf cart. She bared the marks of her recent struggles with soft ‘peach fuzz’ hairs sticking out from under a fancy boating cap. I went to greet her, and both Lloyd and I shared the adventure of the wheel. As we spoke, I wondered if anyone had prayed with her for the cancer to be healed, as well as the many fears that she held from not knowing what next would come. I asked after a long time of listening if she might wish prayer for her condition and need for comfort of the unknowns.
Agreeing, I began to pray aloud in Jesus’ name. After the prayer, I could hear farmer Lloyd calling to me from his back porch to come see him. I had another appointment, so I gracefully asked indulgence to return the following Saturday to visit longer. Sara agreed and I waved a hardy goodbye to farmer Lloyd as I returned to complete the mile journey back to the house.
In the days before our next meeting, I would pass along the road in front of their place a number of times. As Saturday neared, I was impressed by the Holy Spirit to fast until going to meet with these dear ones again. Waiting until 1:30 pm and then setting out with bible in hand, I started the walk to their home. As I made the final turn in the road, the sky began to pour rain. Hot, muggy and very wet, I tried to shield my bible from the rain by tucking it under my clothes and turning in to the forest under the shadow of an overhanging branch. There, for minutes which seemed like hours, the mosquitos also had their way with me as I stood continually stomping my feet and batting away the creatures. The rain didn’t give and I stepped out again and continued walking. Now the house was only a short distance away and as I approached I noticed the couples’ big red vehicle wasn’t there. Knocking first at the back door and then at the front, I knew I had heard the Lord and was surprised at not finding them at home. But I had kept my word and returned at Sara’s invitation just as I was asked. As I turned away, I asked the Lord for paper and pen to write them a note letting them know that I had come. Going over to the golf cart housed under a carport, I rummaged around and came up with a black marker, paper and tape. Sticking a note to the back door that I had come as promised and wishing them well, I left.
As I returned, the rain stopped and a still, small voice impressed me that I had done as was needed…now I could go and eat, releasing Lloyd and Sara to His great love and plan, leaving the outcome to His perfect design. What joy filled my heart as I journeyed back home. I had obeyed my Savior and Lord and I felt the warmth of His smile upon me. The outcome of our faithfulness is not ours, it belongs to the Lord. With this I was reminded of 1 Corinthians 3:6, “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.”