The setting sun cast a glow on the field of ripened grain swaying in the breeze. Heather squeezed her eyes shut tight, the beautiful sight she had anticipated just a few months before, now reminded her that her husband was gone. A farming accident she didn’t want to think about, but she did think about it. All day, everyday, no matter how hard she worked she thought about it. Not even the night could rid her of her memories. She straightened her shoulders for just a moment when she thought how proud Danny would be to see she had carried through on their plan. The harvesters were scheduled to show up at 6am in the morning. After selling it she would pay off the farm.
The breeze that swayed the grain cooled her hot tears. Heather sniffed, wiped her nose on her dusty sleeve and turned to go inside. Exhausted she pulled up the covers and fell into a deep sleep. Dreams danced across her brain, the barn was on fire, she dialed 911 and heard the sound of fire engine sirens. Slowly Heather moved from dreamland to reality. Smoke wafted through her open window, red lights spun on her wall and ceiling. Barefoot she ran outdoors, her golden grain fed the hungry flames. She grabbed her neighbor and sobbed. Her neighbor explained he had been up late with a horse who was giving birth when he saw the fire in her field and called the fire department.
The fire fighters doused the fire that had turned her dreams into ashes. The exhausted men put away their equipment and one by one trickled away into the darkness. Sirens silent, the fire engines rumbled down the road leaving behind the widow sitting next to her charred field. The grief she felt was so deep she couldn’t even cry. She saw her wedding day, then her husbands funeral, a dream gone up in smoke. She recalled her hard work and determination to save the farm on her own, now sitting next to the charred fields, her whole life felt like the charred field spread out before her. She had worked so hard and now it was gone. Gone. Why had she bothered? She sat there day after day. She took the letter of foreclosure from the postman and threw it into the trash. One month to move out and she just kept sitting next to the charred field in her pajamas. Life seemed so pointless now. She had nothing to live for. She had worked so hard for nothing.
Falling asleep again she dreamt a little dream. Her charred fields sprouted and grew into a beautiful field of flowers. She transformed into a butterfly, beautiful, wild, and free. Flitting from flower to flower filling herself with sweet nectar. She heard a voice say, “I am a consuming fire. Where My presence is, evil disappears. I will burn the dross from your life. I will fill your empty charred fields with flowers. You will be like a butterfly, beautiful, light and free, floating from flower to flower tasting the goodness I provide for you. I love you, you hold a special place in my heart. I have plans for you, for us. Come with me today, we will fly like the butterflies.” In her dream she decided to stay a butterfly. She had never imagined she would want to be a butterfly flying from flower to flower, but she felt so free and the flowers provided the sweetest nectar that filled her very soul with satisfaction and joy. She decided not to wake up but to fly with the voice she heard.
Joseph was a real life classic example of the above parable. I’m sure as the favorite son of a rich father his life was pretty good despite his older brothers disdain. Never in his worst dreams did he envision being betrayed by his own brothers and sold as a slave. His dreams and plans for life were charred. It wasn’t until years later when he went straight from the pit of the prison to the second in command of Egypt that his charred fields bloomed and he feasted on the blessings of God.
Just like the farmer’s widow in the parable and Joseph in the Bible we work hard and sometimes that work just seems to go up in smoke. But, God does have a plan. That plan may include doing something we never thought we would even enjoy. I’m sure Joseph never had plans to be the second in command of Egypt. Giving up our own plans for someone else’s never seems like a good idea. But, once we give up our will to the will of our Father in heaven and follow His voice we will experience a freedom and joy so beautiful we will never think of returning to the back breaking working required by our own fields of grain. The fire of the Holy Spirit will destroy our work and plant beauty in our charred fields. Without the fire, we can not have the freedom. Freedom leads to peace and we can rest in the power of God’s peace.