The circus

Cutting silage
Cutting silage

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.

Normally when the meeting was over we would remain and chat, catching up on the news, putting the world aright. This night was different as someone remarked they had to rush on as “the circus is coming tomorrow”.

Now living in a small rural community something as exciting as the circus was an event that would have been the topic of conversation. I hadn’t heard about this and neither had anyone else. Puzzled, I asked when it was coming?

With a chuckle he replied: “No, not a circus like you know. I have the contractors coming to start cutting the silage, with all their vehicles and machines its just like the circus coming to town.”

Speaking to someone recently who also had ‘the circus’ visit his farm, he told me that 13 vehicles rolled up the lane into his yard. It’s a long way from the days of haymaking in the field. I remember as a boy travelling to the small farm where my dad was raised, to help make hay. It was cut, turned and rucked, not even baled.

Or as a teenager turning hay on a white David Brown 990 in preparation for the baler, followed by collecting the bales and physically building them into the hayshed. Hot heavy work. What a difference nowadays, when it is not unusual for 100 acres of silage to be cut and put in the silo in a day.

I remember six cows in the byre - all milked by hand. Milk stored in creamery cans, then transported to the end of the lane for collection. Today - hundreds of cows can be milked in a few hours with the milk transported in large lorries. Farming has changed.

But how wonderful, as we come to the Bible we discover that we worship an unchanging God. ‘For I am the Lord, I do not change,’ (Malachi: 3:6), ‘Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever’ (Hebrews 13:8). What difference should this make to us who live in this ever-changing world?

Yesterday is past tense. It’s so important that Jesus is the same today as he was yesterday. In the past He showed His love, grace, mercy and forgiveness, which is the same today as it was yesterday. It is as real as it was when Jesus cried from on cross, ‘It is finished’ (John 19:30).

John Piper says: “Yesterday is when Jesus Christ showed us in history what He is really like.” Jesus is the same today. So we can have fellowship with Him with confidence that He hasn’t and won’t change when we come to Him.

All our hope for eternity is resting on the very fact that His love for us doesn’t change, it is forever. We can face the future, death, the grave and eternity knowing the One we trust, as Saviour, is not dependent on our changing love for Him, but on his unchanging love for us.

Change is all around us. Have you put your trust, your hope for life, death, and eternity in the unchanging Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ? As the hymn writer reminds us: ‘Change and decay in all around I see, thou who changest not abide with me.’

Robin Fairbairn is pastor/evangelist with Ballygowan Presbyterian Church in County Down and also works as ministry development officer with The Good Book Company. He lives in the country and has been farming every Saturday for more years than he cares to admit.

If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev. Kenny Hanna at khanna@presbyterianireland.org or call him on 028 9753 1234.