When that window shattered into 7 billion pieces, a sliver stuck my heart and maybe a sliver is all we ever have?
It wasn’t so much that our farm boy had turned the tractor too sharp.
It wasn’t that he’d backed the tractor into the auger of the wagon hitched behind him.
It wasn’t even so much that the steel auger had slammed into the full window of the tractor — exploding the glass into a torrent of shards all over our boy, the tractor cab, across the yard.
It was the way I saw our boy turn his face, turn away from sharp fist of the moment.
It was the way I saw him turn to hide what was slipping down all stinging wet, him more broken than any pane of glass.
The farm boy swept a million shards off his lap.
Brushed that stinging wet away with the back of his hand.
And then I watched the farm boy drive the tractor back out to the field, back to the Farmer in the combine,back to fill up with his next load of wheat.
How did he know? That even when we’re broken, we battle onward, all the fixing coming in the moving forward.
When the Farmer looks up from the combine steering wheel to his boy in the shattered tractor, he nods quiet. The farm boy turns his eyes away. Sometimes it’s hard to look love square in the eye and accept the acceptance. Is this why we turn from God?
I crawl up in the combine cab, sat down beside the Farmer. The Farmer hits the button and the combine auger begins to unload into the farm boy’s wagon.
“What do we do?” I hardly murmur it above the roar of the combine, my hands twisted and wrung in my lap. The Farmer senses my words more than he hears them. He knows I don’t mean the window. I can’t look away from our son bent and busted over that tractor steering wheel.
“You know how it is, Ann…” The Farmer glances over at the wagon, our son driving alongside of us, and then back to the wheat he’s combining. “From where we stand, we can’t see whether it’s something’s good or bad. All we can see is that God’s sovereign and He is always good, working all things for good.”
The wheat’s bowed before the combine, willing.
“The window’s gone and the tractor cab dented and sure, we can think about how shook up and heartsick our boy is, and we can think about the cost… but how do we know if this is really a bad thing?” The Farmer’s speaking quiet, focused on the wheat heads laying down before the combine. “You know that story you told me years ago — the story of the white horse? Well — I think this is another hour of the White Horse.”
I had written down that story of the White Horse when I had first heard it from Max Lucado, an old story from South America, written out my own version of it, what I remembered of it:
How a white stallion had rode into the paddocks of an old man and all the villagers had congratulated him on such good fortune.
And the old man had only offered this: “Is it a curse or a blessing? All we can see is a sliver. Who can see what will come next?”
When the white horse ran off, the townsfolk were convinced the white stallion had been a curse. The old man lived surrendered and satisfied in the will of God alone: “I cannot see as He sees.”
And when the horse returned with a dozen more horses, the townsfolk declared it a blessing, yet the old man said only, “It is as He wills and I give thanks for His will.”
Then the man’s only son broke his leg when thrown from the white stallion. The town folk all bemoaned the bad fortune of that white stallion. And the old man had only offered, “We’ll see. We’ll see. It is as He wills and I give thanks for His will.”
When a draft for a war took all the young men off to battle but the son with the broken leg, the villagers all proclaimed the good fortune of that white horse. And the old man said but this, “We see only a sliver of the sum. We cannot see how the bad might be good. God is sovereign and He is good and He sees and work all things together for good.”
Hasn’t that been the lie right since our Genesis beginning – that we can see? When we ate from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, Satan hissed then that we’d know what is good and evil — that we’d really see.
But the father of lies, he’d duped us in the whole nine yards. Though we ate of that tree we did not become like God.
We have no knowledge of good and evil apart from God. Our heart optics are not omniscient.
How can I really see if a seeming disaster or dilemma, is actually dire?
My focus need only be on Him, to only faithfully see His Word, to wholly obey. Therein is the tree of life.
The Farmer slows towards the end of the field. Turns off the combine auger.
The farm boy nods to his dad through that hole where there used to be a window. The window that broke — but who are we to see?
The son pulls with the now full wagon to take up to unload at the grain bin.
“Yes – it’s just a White Horse Hour.” The Farmer turns on the headland, pulls back into the field.
He looks up at the farm boy headed towards the bin.
“We may have taken a boy to the field. But I think we may be bringing home a man. God’s only up to good work.”
I reach over and lay my hand on the knee of the Farmer’s work worn wranglers. Say it quiet. “All we can see is Christ – and in Him all is grace.”
And in the combine’s rear view mirror, I can see it, just what we always have, what we can always only see —
Just a sliver, a sliver of the sum, swaying behind us there in a whisper of wind.
“Whatever You may do, I will thank You.
I am ready for all; I accept all.
Let only Your will be done in me…
And I’ll ask for nothing else, my Lord.”
~Charles de Foucauld
“And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son… Romans 8:28-29
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