Slouched down in my leather seat in a crowded railway car, I was being gently rocked to sleep by the rhythmic swaying back and forth of the old train clattering across the Polish countryside. Returning from a student conference in the mountains where I had been teaching and counseling with college students all weekend had left me a bit weary, lonely and depleted. Working through translators for each message was a slow, tedious process.
As an American woman, I felt the cultural distance between me and these youth who had grown up under a supressive, Communist government. The religious freedom I had taken so for granted, made these students eager to know about God, about Jesus, about a kingdom in heaven where they would be free and blessed by the God who made them. Exhaustion tended to exagerate cultural differences and made me feel somewhat isolated as a 24 year old, struggling to understand even a portion of the things that were spoken to me. I remember riding along in the car wondering if I would ever not feel lonely.
Suddenly, the train took a small bend and in front of me were fields of thousands upon thousands of bright red poppies, gently swaying in the wind. Fields of poppies, obviously growing wild, spread over miles of the countryside. I was mesmerized by the beauty and found myself wondering how long it had taken for these beautiful flowers to be planted over the years so that there would be so many everywhere.
I began to imagine the invisible hand of God intentionally spreading seed generously over the many fields, so that in a country where there had been so much division, war and darkness for so many generations, that there would still be a picture of His beauty, creation and life to comfort those who would see it. That it would draw their thoughts and hearts, like it did mine, to thoughts of Him who was the artist of such beauty.
This has become to me a sort of picture of my place in the world. Jesus often talked about sowing seed in many of His parables. The people of His time were tied more closely to farming, sowing, reaping because their very lives depended on the well-being of the crops as their source of food.
Join me today in my podcast where I share the story of my being in Communist Poland as a young, single women wondering if I was even capable or adequate to being a missionary. God has taught me so much about cultivating joy every day since then, but it is a long journey of maturing a little at a time to learn to dance in His joy every day.
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