Both of my grandfathers were farmers…. legitimately or at least at heart. My grandfather on my mom’s side, Papa Bach, had about an acre of land in the small city he lived in. Little did he know then that he probably set the present day trend for having chickens inside city limits, not that he was into the trend setting thing. Behind the garage and chicken coop, was a decent sized orchard filled with apple trees and a small parcel for growing vegetables before it brushed up against the neighbor’s property on the next street over. It was his native German mentality that kept that place in tip top shape while he was mentally and physically able to do so. Like a typical German, everyone had a small piece of land to “farm” and he was very particular about what to do around the plants (don’t trample on them) and very particular about the chicken coop (don’t leave the gate open). I enjoyed spending time at his house. He’d always have a story from back home at the foot of the Black Forest where he grew up.
My other grandfather, Grandpa Hecock, actually was a farmer. He had a small farm in the then small town he lived in. It was more of a side thing as he had worked a few jobs, one of them selling seed to farmers. After my parents were married and bought the farm that I would eventually grow up on, he and grandma built a house on the northwest corner so they could continue farming vicariously through my parents. He had many years of experience an it was important that I listened and obeyed. Small choices during planting season could have big effects when it came time for harvest. For example, if I ran out in the field and while playing trampled on the seedlings of wheat or corn or soybeans, it could kill the plant and then there would be nothing to harvest when it came time. It was a big deal. And, I was a kid. Needless to say, I eventually learned my lesson after grandpa had a talk with me. He was a rough guy, but a good one.
The dean of women at my college gave a talk during the first weeks of my Freshman year. I would come to learn that she gave this same talk every year. Me getting to college, let alone this particular one was a bit of a journey in and of itself…perhaps for another post for another day. She gave a talk about this one significant verse that had spoken to her many years in her past, and she thought it was still relevant today. David says in Psalm 17:8 that we are the apple of God’s eye. The apple of your eye is the reflection of an object in your eye. In this case, David is implying that we are the apple of God’s eye as He stares at us with great affection and love. We are of great value to Him.
To trample on something is to beaten it to the ground. Things that are trampled are usually distorted, a blurred image of what they once were, never to return to it’s former state. I think of flowers that have been trampled (while I was a kid, you know…don’t tell my mother), and how their stems were broken and bruised, the petals crushed, almost instantly turning brown. They would wither up, look ugly before they finally became one with the soil again. I was driving the other day through the countryside coming from another city. There’s very little snow here and even scarcer vegetation. These are nomadic peoples and herdsman. There were cattle tracks everywhere throughout the valleys I crossed through, all the snow trampled down mixed with what little vegetation was left from a harsh drought…and dust…lots of red dust. To trample something is to crush, beat down, flatten.
Bruce Demarest, in his book “Seasons of the Soul,” writes “We trample on God’s grace when we refuse to forgive ourselves after He has forgiven us. C. S. Lewis observed that when we fail to forgive ourselves after Christ has forgiven us, we establish ourselves as a higher judge than God himself-which cannot be.”
I know what trampling does. I also know how incredibly hard it is for me to give myself grace. Part of me accepting my dysfunctions is also accepting God’s grace that He gives to me every moment. It’s actually easier for me to give other people grace than it is to give it to myself. Go figure…crazy how distorted one can be.
I also know that I have no desire to be a judge, especially a higher one than God. But to think that when I trample on His grace, I am claiming that things He has said are true aren’t. I’m claiming that I know better than He does, He who knit me together.
Something as beautiful as the flowers He created are not beautiful when they are crushed and beat into the ground. Think of how much more beautiful you are to Him than a flower. I’m not good at it, and I fail often, but when I have the courage to accept His grace, it is something nothing short of beyond my imagination.
You are worth it. You are valued. You are loved. You are the Apple of His Eye. I pray you accept that as the truth that it is.
Do you have a hard time accepting God’s grace over you? When you do, what is it like? Thanks for journeying with me!