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.
I am the daughter of a fisherman and only entered the world of dairy farming when I married my husband, Jim. They are very different occupations and yet they are both types of farming, one within the sea and the other on land.
One thing they definitely have in common is the closeness to nature, which I love. There is something awesome about watching the sea spray coming over the harbour wall on a stormy night (though not when you have a loved one at sea). As farmers we sometimes forget to stop and take in the beauty all around us. However, I never tire of looking at the Mourne Mountains, which provide an ever-changing backdrop to our farm.
My current involvement in farming is keeping ‘the books’, occasionally feeding calves, standing in the odd ‘gap’ and, of course, each evening I listen to the joys and trials of the day.
I commute to Belfast to work and, while this takes me into the buzz of city life, it also gives me a chance to see what’s happening in other parts of the country. Over the past months I have been filled with awe and wonder at the amazing skies, from the rising of the sun to its setting. I believe such beauty must have a Creator.
We already had two precious granddaughters, Chloe and Abbie, when recently their cousin made a dramatic, and somewhat dangerous, entrance into the world. As I looked at Matthew at 5am in the delivery suite, all 4lbs 14ozs, I was once again lost in wonder at God’s work.
God is at work in the fields too and for farmers there is nothing more satisfying than the safe delivery of a new born calf. This is often the result of carefully choosing the correct sire to match the traits of the dam and yet, without the miracle of nature, we are powerless.
In Colossians 1:15-20 we read: “The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in Him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible…all things have been created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together… God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to himself all things... by making peace through His blood, shed on the cross.”
These verses declare that, not only have all things been created by Christ, but all things were created for Him. Jesus is the goal of all creation, everything exists to display His glory and we must give Him our praise and honour Him as Lord.
Jesus died on the cross so that we could be reconciled to God. But why do we need to be reconciled to God? We are told in Romans 3:23 “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If you do not know Him as Lord and Saviour He is waiting for you to ask His forgiveness and to make Him Lord of your life. Can you do that?
Charlotte Stevenson farms with her husband, Jim, and son, James, near Kilkeel. She is a member of Mourne Presbyterian Church and works in Belfast for the Presbyterian Church.
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.