My grandparents owned a forty acre hobby farm in Minnesota while I was growing up. We visited a couple times a month and my fondest childhood memories include trips to Grandpa and Grandma’s. In the winter there was sledding and snowmobiling and the rest of the year there was softball, basketball, gardening, games, and my favorite, tractor rides. Every so often Grandpa would say, “Time for a tractor ride! Who wants to go?” I never missed an opportunity to jump onto the trailer for a tractor ride. As we slowly made our way through the woods, up and down hills, Grandpa would stop and point at something; a flower, plant, rock, tree, berry, or animal track. He would then explain in detail what it was, what it was good for, how it could be used.
Undoubtedly we would get thirsty and Grandpa would find a fresh spring of water where he had hung ladles so we could satisfy our thirst. As a child I thought it was extraordinary he could locate his fresh springs throughout the forty acres. When we would stop to drink, not only did I receive a fresh ladle of cold, pure water, but he would tell me to put some in my hands and on my face to “freshen” up.
Sometimes Grandpa would let me stand right behind him on the tractor holding onto the seat instead of riding on the trailer. This spot made me feel extra special because I was close to the man who seemed to know everything about everything. The added bonus was I could hear him better while standing close making it easier to understand what he was saying. He usually spoke loudly because of the roaring tractor engine. But occasionally, if I pressed him with questions, he would turn off the tractor, take my hand, and lead me on a little jaunt through the woods to share more of his wisdom.
One on one time with Grandpa was special and on these strolls, with my small, soft hand firmly in the grip of his large, rough one, I felt safe and secure. Listening to him share information and correlate the intricacies of nature with the work of our loving Creator was enlightening. The love I felt as a result of being close, touching and walking with Grandpa, hearing his voice as he spoke, and discovering new things was stimulating. I was able to absorb wisdom without fully comprehending the vast array of details.
As I was pondering tractor rides with Grandpa, Holy Spirit began to reveal Himself through these memories. Here are some of the truths God impressed upon me:
† Everything we see in nature was created by our heavenly Father and it all belongs to Him. My grandfather owned forty acres. We benefitted by his sharing. Our heavenly Father owns everything and gives generously! We have the honor of responding to Him!
We have only to read the book of Genesis to discover the wonder of creation and then Exodus 19:5 proclaims “…all the earth is His”. We get a beautiful portrait of creation and what our response to Him should be in Psalm 95:2-6 “Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving; Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms. For the Lord is the great God, and the great King above all gods. In His hand are the deep places of the earth; the heights of the hills are His also. The sea is His, for He made it; and His hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord our Maker.”
† We trust God and receive our fulfillment in life by knowing and immersing ourselves in Him rather than filling ourselves with earthly pleasure. However, we have the privilege of enjoying what God has lavishly provided for us today.
1 Timothy 6:17 says “Command those who are rich in this present age not to be haughty, nor to trust in uncertain riches but in the living God, who gives us richly all things to enjoy.”
Psalm 37:4 “Delight yourself also in the Lord and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”
We engaged in many activities at my grandparent’s farm. Our heavenly Father invites us to engage and delight ourselves in Him, causing us to enjoy all things He has provided.
† The Lord invites us to journey with Him and desires to teach us about the things which are important to Him.
Prov. 16:9 “A man’s heart plans his way, But the LORD directs his steps.”
Micah 6:8 “He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the LORD require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”
The Lord is so good to direct us. We simply need to humble ourselves, submit, and allow Him to speak His knowledge to us. My grandfather invited us to take tractor rides but did not force anyone to participate. Jesus invites us to receive Him as our Lord and Savior but He will not force us to believe. We need to choose. When we accepted the offer to ride with Grandpa he would share his knowledge with us, pointing out things along the path so we would “see” and “hear”. If we accept the offer of our Lord and Savior to ride with Him on the wings of eagles, He will lead our steps, point out details, share Himself with us, and we will “see” and “hear”.
In God there is wisdom we cannot even begin to fathom yet it is His desire for us to listen, learn, and gain this wisdom. He is willing to share!
Proverbs 2:5-6 “Then you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.”
Proverbs 9:10 “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.”
Romans 11:33 “Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!”
† Our thirst for God grows as we exercise our gifts and seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness. We go about learning the things of God, we walk and talk with Him, we exercise the spiritual gifts He has freely given to us, and we thirst for God. We discover He guides us by springs of water when He finds us thirsty.
Isaiah 49:10 “They shall neither hunger nor thirst, neither heat nor sun shall strike them; For He who has mercy on them will lead them, even by the springs of water He will guide them.”
John 7:37 “On the last day, that great [day] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried out, saying, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink.”
John 4:14 “…whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”
We have this great “thirst quencher” in Jesus. My grandfather knew where the fresh streams of water were on his land and could guide us to them. But he did not create the water. God not only guides us to the springs of water, but He provides the water of life which replenishes and refreshes us. He gives us Holy Spirit who fills us and flows out of our hearts when we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. When Grandpa led us to fresh water, we were able to quench our thirst when we drank it in and refresh ourselves when we splashed it on our faces. Jesus leads us and satisfies our thirst for Him, refreshing us when we splash Him on every part of my being.
† Sometimes God speaks loudly and sometimes He speaks to us in a soft, small voice.
Joel 3:16 “The LORD also will roar from Zion, And utter His voice from Jerusalem;…”
1 Kings 19:12 “and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a still small voice.”
My grandfather often had to yell over the roar of the engine in order for us to hear him. God is willing to shout in order to be heard as well. When I stood close to Grandpa, I could hear every word with little effort. When we stand close to God, even when the noise of life is crushing we can still hear His voice. He chooses how He will speak to us – loudly of softly.
My grandfather sometimes shut the tractor off, limiting the noise. Heavenly Father sometimes turns the noise of the world off and meets with us in the quiet place, perhaps strolling with us along a path of His choosing. We need to be aware of what God is doing when He does things. I did not get to tell my grandfather when we would go for a walk. He chose when those special times occurred. My part was to be ready when he was ready. God wants us to be ready at all times. He desires to meet with us more than we desire to walk with Him.
† When we ask God questions, He answers every time. We might not like His answers however He listens, He hears, and He speaks.
Matthew 7:7 says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.”
It is His desire that we ask because He wants to give. He wants us to seek so that we find. He loves for us to knock so He can open the door.
Matthew 21:22 says “And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
My grandfather loved it when we asked him questions so he could bless us with answers. Our heavenly Father loves for us to inquire of Him and loves to immerse us with His presence where we find the peace which passes understanding and we find Him to be the Source of all answers.
† God loves to meet with us and hold our hand. We are safe and secure in the firm grip of His Hand. Never should we fear anything because we know the only One whom is to be feared.
Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.‘ Verse 13 “For I, the LORD your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you.’
Psalm 63:8 “My soul follows close behind You; Your right hand upholds me.”
Walking in unknown territory is best sojourned with a guide. Grandpa was a knowledgeable guide through the woods; someone I could trust and rely on; someone I could feel safe and secure with. I knew he could protect me and fill me with wonder and understanding. How much more our heavenly Father is our strength and our Guide in life. We can trust in Him completely with every aspect of our being. He is our omniscient Protector and He fills us with wonder as He reveals more of Himself to us as we traverse this journey in life.
As often is the case, I do not think I appreciated the great treasure Grandpa was to me while he walked on the face of this earth. It is only as I meander through memories that God reveals what a gift and role model my Grandfather was in his simplicity of life. His mastery of learning about creation and his devotion to gaining knowledge about the things of God was astounding. His ability to connect and effectively communicate their relationship seeped into my spirit over the years, instilling a longing to know God more. My grandfather was a devoted worshipper of God, studying His Word, sharing His truths, opening his heart to the things of God. He would never shy away from sharing the wonders of his discoveries. He “invested” in us and left a legacy I wonder if we as family members have nurtured or honored.
Today, we have the advantage of knowing God as much as we desire to know Him. We not only have memories and testimony of what God has done, but we have the pleasure of joy of creating new ones each day with Him. God is our Master Creator and Teacher! We have the incredible privilege of learning more of Him each moment of every day!
Will we find ourselves unappreciative at the end of life, “missing” the great treasure we have in Him because we are consumed with “getting” ahead in this world? Or will we simplify, mastering the art of devotion to our living God and listening to His voice in the midst of the piercing noise and chaos of life?
Let us be people who choose to stand close to God allowing Him to drive! Let us hold on tightly, listening to His voice whether He is shouting over the earsplitting sounds of life, or speaking to us in a still, small voice. Let us stroll with Him in the quiet of the day as He turns off the noise and leads us beside the still waters, all the while, revealing wisdom and knowledge. Let His words seep deep into our spirits to bring refreshment and replenish our thirsty souls. Let us be people who delight ourselves in our Delighter!!!!