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.
It has been a wet spring, with plenty of rainy days. Perhaps, like me, you have complained about the rain. By the way, isn’t it interesting how often our conversation is about the weather!
Even though it was a long time ago, rainy days still remind me of a visit that I made to a home in Belfast, when I was working as a Belfast City Missionary. Her name was Nan and she was someone I often called with.
She lived in a terrace house and to get in you had to press the button on the front door and then wait until you heard the buzzer. This let you know that the door was now open. Nan had Multiple Sclerosis and was confined to bed, so she couldn’t’ open the door herself, but she always welcomed visitors. A bright cheerful Christian lady, she was such an encourager too. People who visited often commented that they always came away blessed – myself included.
It was a cold, wet and rainy day, just like the ones that we have been having recently. Standing in the rain, waiting on the buzzer, I was getting wetter. As I entered the little room where Nan was, my conversation started by speaking about how cold and wet it was outside. It was Nan’s response that I will never forget. “Robin, this is the day that the Lord hath made we will rejoice and be glad in it,” she told me.
My complaining had led to a gentle rebuke by a lovely Christian lady who would have so dearly loved to have felt that same cold, and the wettest of rain, but couldn’t - and she wasn’t complaining about it either. So each time it rains, and I am tempted to complain, I think of my visit to Nan and still feel the kind rebuke that I received.
The verse that she quoted to me was recently part of my daily Bible reading and is taken from Psalm 118. The verses not only speak about being thankful for each day the Lord has made, and of course we should be thankful, but more importantly they speak about the Lord Jesus and his death on the cross: ‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; This is the Lord’s doing; it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it (Psalm 118:22-24.)’
We can only ever ‘rejoice and be glad for the day the Lord has made’ when we come to understand that the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, took your place and mine at the cross. And in the words of the hymn we come to understand that ‘He died that we might be forgiven, he died to make us good, that we might go at last to heaven saved by his precious blood.’
When it rains I think of my visit to Nan and it helps me to be thankful, not only for God’s goodness, but also for his wonderful love in rescuing me by the sending of his Son Jesus to be my saviour. The one who was rejected by God at the cross ensures that, when we invite him into our own lives, we will not be rejected by God - but accepted into his family forever. Wow!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call him on 028 9753 1234.