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.
Having spent most of my life living in the countryside I always thought that there were many advantages with country life.
However, it appears that for some people living in the countryside can be a drawback. A new TV series called, Love in the Countryside aims to match lonely individuals with singles who are looking for love.
The programme host Sara Cox said, “I can’t wait to journey over hill and dale, through Britain’s glorious countryside on my mission to hopefully help love blossom for the people who work the land, lovingly tend their animals but may have neglected their own hearts.”
I am sure we can all think of farmers, whether single, divorced or married, of whom you could say that they look after their land and animals better than they look after themselves, even better than they look after their own heart.
David the shepherd in Psalm 37:3-5 said, “Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD; trust in Him and He will do this.”
God wants us to care for our hearts better than our farm or our career by making time and space for Jesus Christ as our Saviour. The prophet Jeremiah explains how to find Jesus Christ the Saviour in 29:13 of his book, “You will seek me and find me when you search for me with all your heart.”
It is a hard thing to do something with all of our heart as Peter, the dairy farmer in Yorkshire, found out in the TV series. In pursuit of his ideal wife he was able to select three women and invite them to his farm. Their first task was to help him do the morning milking starting at 5.30am. After the milking one of the most awkward moments arose when Peter and the three women were in the kitchen for breakfast.
Peter’s attention was divided and he wasn’t sure which of the women he should be chatting to. For Peter it was an impossible situation manufactured in the world of reality TV, which created tension and upset for the women as well.
So often in our busy lives there are many people competing for our undivided attention. It is easy to be distracted by people or by things when all the time the person who first and foremost wants our undivided attention is Jesus Christ. For in the words of 1 John 4:10, “This is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.”
He wants our attention because He truly loves us more than anyone else. This summer, wherever you live, I trust that nothing will distract you from seeking and knowing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour. For when we do, as Paul said in Romans 8:39, “neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” May you know and experience true love this summer!
Trevor Boyd is the minister of First Rathfriland Presbyterian Church in the rolling County Down countryside. Married to Barbara, the father of three is an ex-sheep breeder and previously sold animal health products across Northern Ireland.
If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev. Kenny Hanna at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 028 9753 1234.