During the past few weeks, we have lived in an area of southern England where the predictable has been governed by the unpredictable. The harvest is late in East Anglia, and yet the fields around our small market town look wonderful. There are the cereal crops, oilseed rape and, for the first time in many years, fields of peas. The landscape is at its most eye-catching with its colourful panorama of varying straw colours and greens. The combines and pea viners are not out in force yet.
Sunshine, warm drying winds and not too much dew all make for good harvest weather. However, that has not been the case here. This much-needed harvest weather has been broken up by unpredictable storms, flash floods and golf ball-sized hailstones. It is not ideal for bringing in the harvest. There is an anxious waiting for a break in the changeable weather so that the fields and crops can dry out. If that break doesn’t come, the quality and quantity of the harvest may well be reduced.
The principle of what we hope for and that which we should be able to rely on may, through unforeseen circumstances, be changed. It is encouraging to read the words in Genesis 8:22, “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”
I am not a climatologist but am aware of all the warnings throughout recent years by the international summits, environmentalists, and scientists that we have entered into an era of change with sadly a predictable outcome. With all the international debates, we could, as individuals, become complacent in our approach to each day. In other words, we could become sloppy and think, ‘why bother to make a day work, why think of others’ and we could let our standards of work and our ability to ride out difficult situations reduce. There is a wonderful description in the scriptures of the enterprising qualities of the ant, this tiny inobtrusive creature which we sometimes find raiding the store cupboards to feast on the sugar, biscuits etc.
“Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider its ways and be wise! It has no commander, no overseer or ruler, yet it stores its provisions in summer and gathers its food at harvest.” Proverbs 6:6-8
We need the resilience of this small creature to survive and make life work, never giving up its responsibility to maintain the life of the nest.