Years ago, in horse-and-buggy days, a poor circuit preacher made his bi-weekly rounds to his favorite little church. As he could not afford a horse, he walked several miles to the little, white church in the vale.
On his way through the fertile valley leading to the church, he stopped at his favorite meadow to savor the change of scenery each season displayed.
He enjoyed spring, as it burst forth with bluebells, daffodils, and Queen Anne’s lace, and fall, as the trees boasted of their array of vibrant reds and golds.
And he laughed when winter’s snow and ice decked out the trees and shrubs, reminding him of some of the icy parishioners in his church.
Each time he made the journey to the church, he paused to meditate. Leaning on the old fence surrounding the meadow, he praised the Lord for the beauty of His creation, for the privilege of serving Him, and for all the faithful parishioners filling the little church, even the icy ones, and always asking for the miracle of a bigger building to hold many other souls.
One beautiful spring day, he noticed a sign on the property: FOR SALE! He didn’t have long to be curious if someone would buy the property for the next week, a new sign appeared: SOLD!
What will become of my lovely meadow, he thought.
Soon construction began on the site. Disappointment did not begin to cover how he felt. Each time he walked by, he could see all the progress taking place. Trees knocked down. Flowers gone. The ground disturbed.
A rumbling started in his spirit. Each Sunday he preached there, he grew more annoyed. Mumbling and complaining chipped away at his praise until cynicism threw a dark shadow across his soul. His joy disappeared and he blamed God and even questioned his calling as a preacher.
By the time he reached the little church, his spirit reacted so negatively that his sermons suffered and the people noticed the difference.
One Sunday as he walked to church, he became so angry at God for taking away his beautiful praise field that he kicked the fence and broke his foot. Luckily, a parishioner came by in his buggy and took the preacher to the doctor.
The doctor ordered him to stay off his foot for a few months until it healed. The next spring when he was able to resume preaching, the parishioner came to pick him up for Sunday services. When the parishioner arrived, he told the preacher he must do something.
“You must wear this blindfold,” said the man.
“What in the world for?”
“Humph! How can I see if I’m blindfolded!”
“Don’t worry, preacher. You’ll love it when you see it. I promise!”
When they finally arrived at their destination, the man removed the blindfold from the preacher’s eyes. As he did, the preacher heard, “Surprise!”
“Wha-a-t? What is this?” He glanced around and saw his entire congregation surrounding him.
“This,” said the man, “is your new church building.”
There, in the middle of his favorite meadow, stood the most beautiful church building he had ever seen. The meadow once again displayed its fragrant wildflowers and the trees in full blossom welcomed him back.
“I…I don’t understand,” said the puzzled preacher.
The man said, “We received a large endowment from an anonymous donor to build you a new church building. Knowing it’s been your heart’s desire, and since you broke your foot and couldn’t see what was going on, we thought we’d surprise you.”
As his eyes filled with tears, the preacher fell to his knees, sobbing, “Oh, Lord, forgive me. I blamed You for taking away the very thing that gave me such joy, my beautiful meadow. I lost my praise and even questioned my calling. I had no idea You had planned something even more beautiful than I could have imagined. My cup of joy is now refilled and running over. Praise You, Lord!”
Has some trial or heartache caused you to lash out at God, questioning His dealings in your life, or maybe thinking something has been taken from you?
Have you grumbled and complained? Has joy left your heart?
The Lord has a replacement in store for you. Will you thank Him in anticipation of its arrival and for His love and care for you? Will you praise Him again in your beautiful, new meadow of joy?
Meadow blessings to you…Lynn