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.
On a clear day flying over Northern Ireland you can’t help but be impressed by the colour of the landscape, the pattern of the fields and the various shades of the green grass.
Grass is so important in the life of the farm.
For you grass may provoke memories of summer days gathering hay and the basket being brought to the field for tea; freshly baked soda bread and jam which always seemed to taste so much nicer with a hay bale at your back and the warm sun shining on your face.
During the winter one of the jobs that needs to be carried out every week is stripping the silo - lifting tyres and rolling back the cover a few more feet. It’s been a long winter and for some spring can’t come soon enough, with the hope of an early bite of grass to get livestock turned out.
The Bible speaks of grass. In Psalm 103:15-16 we read, “As for man, his days are like grass; As a flower of the field, so he flourishes. For the wind passes over it, and it is gone.” It says our lives are like grass growing up green and fresh but soon the years pass and like the grass we wither and decay.
It is a picture that reminds us of our mortality and the shortness of life. In Psalm 104:14 we read, “He makes grass grow for the cattle.” It is God the Sovereign One who makes the grass to grow. It is God who alone gives life and beauty to the grass and also to us, for it is ‘in Him we live and move and have our being’ (Acts 17:28).
The Bible also reminds us that God has supplied what is needed, what is necessary and suitable for us - for life, for death and for eternity in the Lord Jesus. As we sing in that great old hymn ‘Great is thy faithfulness’ - “All I have needed Thy hand hath provided.”
As we know too well, grass production is expensive. But for the cattle the cost of the grass is nothing, it is free to them as it has been paid for by someone else. It is the same with God’s mercy. The wonder of this offer is that it is also free - we cannot buy it or earn it and we do not deserve it. God has wonderfully provided for our needy souls through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ - God’s grace, forgiveness and salvation have been paid in full by the Lord Jesus on the cross.
In the hymn “There is a green hill far away”, we sing “There was no other good enough to pay the price of sin. He only could unlock the gates of heaven and let us in”. When we think of the green green grass of home, may we also be reminded of that ‘green hill far away,’ as it says in the hymn ‘where the dear Lord was crucified, who died to save us all.’ For it is Jesus who meets our deepest needs, both now and forever.
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 at firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 028 9753 1234.