Every fortnight people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life. They hope that you will be encouraged by it.
You may be a farmer out for the day. No doubt you’ll do the basics before you leave home - stock will be checked and fed, cows milked. Maybe there are things to be done when you get back to the farm later. But, in the meantime, you’re going to ‘The Show’ to chill out and enjoy yourself.
There’s judging to watch, stock to run your eye over, machinery to look at; maybe a deal to be done. You’ll spend half the day having a yarn with friends and neighbours and you’ll bump into many more before you head for home. It’ll be a good day.
Or maybe you’re a child, or young person, who hopes to escape the humdrum routine of school for the day. The ‘delights’ of Maths, English and Science can wait for another day. It’s a day off school; enough said! You’ll be there to experience ‘The Show’. Whatever brings you to this year’s Balmoral Show, I hope that you enjoy your day.
Enjoying Balmoral Show is easy for us to understand, but, believe it or not, God’s Word, the Bible, says that we are to enjoy God. Perhaps the very idea of that takes you by surprise. You might be thinking, “Enjoying God? But I thought that God is distant, impersonal, and rather stern.” You may be surprised by it, but the songbook of the Bible says to us, “Take delight in the Lord” (Psalm 37:4). We are to enjoy God with all of our made-for-joy hearts.
A big part of our problem may be that if we thought God could actually delight in us, then, perhaps, we might feel able to delight in Him. So here’s the second surprise that God has got in store for you. In Psalm 149:4 we read, “The Lord takes delight in his people.” Are you one of God’s followers, enjoying Him through His Son Jesus? If you are, then please have your heart lifted by the fact God doesn’t simply tolerate you, as a mild inconvenience, or a deep disappointment; God is head-over-heels delighted in you!
Perhaps you long for this kind of life: God delighting in you and you delighting in Him, but you wonder, “is this really possible for me?” The Bible tells us that if we turn from going our own way and trust in Jesus’ death to forgive us, God will delight in us and we will begin to delight in Him.
If you want to begin enjoying God, then here is a prayer that you can pray: “My Father, I am amazed that You can delight in me. I admit that I have ignored and rejected Your amazing love for me. But I thank You that You have sent Your Son Jesus so that I can be forgiven. So please forgive me. Help me, from now on, to turn from living for myself and to delight in You showing that delight by how I live. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”
If you plan to attend Balmoral Show and want to talk about how this could be possible, or you just want to rest tired and weary legs and have a cup of tea, you will be made very welcome on the Presbyterian Church in Ireland’s stand You will find us at EK 28, in the Eikon Exhibition Centre. Light refreshments are available and face painting for the children too.
Rev. Kenny Hanna is minister of Second Dromara Presbyterian Church and grew up on his family’s farm in the foothills of the Mountains of Mourne.
If you would like to talk to someone about this article, please email Rev. Kenny Hanna at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 028 9753 1234.