Day Writing by Heather Hamilton-Maude: Affliction
It was Sunday afternoon, and blistering hot outside. Again. My husband had a long list of things to get fixed, and I was scheduled to head to my parents with the kids to preg check heifers Monday morning.
As has been the habit this summer, I headed out to mist hogs, only to find a gilt in labor. We had been discussing this gilt in-depth for a few days. All our records and personal recollections said we never had a boar with the gilts until after we AI’d for a Sept. 4 due date. Yet there she was, in labor.
I headed across the yard as my husband pulled in from opening our Sudan field for chopping with the windrower, which was overheating, of course. Seemingly every piece of equipment that pulls into our yard this summer, whether we own it or not, has required work.
We got the other hogs out of the pen. Someone in that particular bunch eats piglets, as evidenced by the two dead ones. We hosed down the farrowing gilt, and let her be. I got bags packed to leave while my husband went back to work.
Forty-five minutes later the car was loaded, and I agreed to check the gilt one more time before heading out.
No more piglets.
I snuck up behind her, watched her a couple minutes, and decided to assist. Got the necessary stuff, snuck back in, armed her just enough to feel a head-first upside down piglet, which isn’t good, before she jumped up, turned around, and let me know she didn’t appreciate the help.
I text my parents that I would be over in the morning, gathered up my husband again, and we got her in a crate.
She then decided she was going to be obstinate. Stand up, drop a hip, push against me. Any and everything to make it worse. Two hours later I finally got the stuck pig out. It wasn’t pretty.
Then a fire call came through. My husband had stopped his tasks to take over the kids when I started helping the gilt. Two rambunctious kids in a farrowing barn is just as helpful as it is in a calving pen, especially with a less than impressed first-time mother.
He waited, but a second call came in, and he had to go.
There I was, with two kids, an irritated gilt making everything as hard as it could be in 100-degree weather, and a husband whose only text thereafter said the fires were bad.
I was struggling. This little afternoon scene is comparable to numerous days and weeks at our place this year. At several people’s places based on conversations with folks. It seems like it will not end. Not only does it not go smooth, but it is seemingly the longest, hardest, most expensive way for half the return with most things, including this gilt.
I finally walked outside, sat in the side-by-side, and took a breather. Then, it magically began to rain, with no warning as the smoke was so thick the storm clouds were invisible. Then the Turning Point weekend devotional popped into my head.
In part, it read, “One troubled man finally said, ‘I’m tired of being sad.’ Sometimes we have to make an emotional stand, buttressed by prayer. Those who are in Christ don’t stay sad forever,” in reference to Psalm 116.
A couple days earlier in the week, the devotional had targeted the persecution of Christians around the world, and the need to pray for those who are jailed, tortured and killed for their faith.
That all played in my head while God graced us with much-needed moisture. I tend to become frustrated quickly when things aren’t going “right.” Like on Sunday afternoon. But, nowhere in the Bible does it say that we are going to have it easy on this earth. Nor does it say our struggles will time out after so many seconds, hours, days, or years.
I also bet those being persecuted for their faith would be happy to switch afflictions with me on any given day.
Both they and we have the choice to make an emotional stand against not only sadness, but other emotions that can take our focus off God, and the numerous blessings he has graced us with. Even when we are going through what seem to be extended times of trial.
“Therefore we do not lose heart…For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.” 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.
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