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.
When I lived on the farm the dogs we owned were working dogs and got adequate exercise without human intervention.
That is not the case with the dog I now own living in the city. Earlier in the year I took Poppy late one summer evening for a walk and noticed something familiar – a Massey Ferguson 35X. It was in pristine condition and parked at the entrance gate of Glendermott Parish Church.
The church was staging a flower festival with the strapline – ‘Walk with us Down Memory Lane –A flower festival with a difference’. Inside were references to local industry and shops in past decades, but it was this little tractor that evoked special memories for me, and took me down my own personal memory lane.
I remember fondly driving one when quite young and remember especially rowing the hay for the baler. For many there are things that will stir fond memories of days gone by. Older readers may encounter a thresher, or witness horses ploughing at some event, and be reminded of their younger days.
In the Bible there are many psalms written by David. They are very personal and passionate and appear to be stimulated by the psalmist’s own personal experiences. Known as ‘the Shepherd’s Psalm’, one of the best loved is Psalm 23. David was once a shepherd who cared for the needs of the sheep and surely he was thinking about this when God guided him to pen these familiar words: ‘He (God) makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside the quiet waters’ (Psalm 23:2). In verse 4 he speaks about God being with him and comforting him.
In Psalm 27:1 David describes God as ‘the stronghold of his life’ and asks ‘of whom shall I be afraid?’ The incident that prompted David to write these words was one of tremendous stress, but he was confident that God would sustain him.
In his life David experienced many trials and challenges and in them was conscious of God’s amazing love and grace. When he travelled down ‘his memory lane’ he was conscious that God had rescued him from his lost sinful condition, provided for his needs and enabled him to cope in every testing situation.
It gives me pleasure to remember the time I enjoyed working on the family farm with the Massey Ferguson 35X, but far more important is the memory of a time when I invited Christ to be my personal Saviour.
Because of that decision, like David, I know God continually provides for me, continually strengthens me, and has a glorious home for me reserved in heaven.
There are many memories that are precious to us, but only trusting in Christ gives us strength for today and prepares us for eternity. I wonder when you look back down ‘your memory lane’ can you recall a time when you accepted Christ’s offer of salvation? He will receive all who turn to Him in repentance and faith.
To remember things that gave pleasure in years past is a positive thing. However, there is something far more precious that I recall from my youth – something that has on-going significance in my life today. That is the time when I trusted in Jesus as my personal Saviour. Knowing Jesus as Saviour gives joy that is permanent and satisfaction that can never be equalled.
Having grown up in rural Tyrone, after leaving school at the age of 16, Knox worked for over 20 years on the family dairy farm near Aughnacloy. Having felt the call of God to full-time ministry, since 2005 he has served as minister of two Presbyterian congregations. In Londonderry, Knox pastors the congregation of Waterside, and in rural Donegal the congregation of Fahan.
If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev. Kenny Hanna at email@example.com or call him on 028 9753 1234.