Circumstances have not been good for my pantry. Don’t get me wrong, I am thankful for every little bit of, well, everything that we have this year. There just isn’t much to put up from the garden. I think this is the first autumn that I have more empty canning jars then I do full jars. It is a weird feeling. Nothing got planted until August 1st this year. We are counting our blessings having ANYTHING to put up. Yesterday Ray and I put up 4 (yes four) pints of snap beans. FYI; a “normal” year yields at least three dozen pints.
Generally I sort my beans by color and size but this year I had to put everything together just to fill four jars. Even the Dragon’s Tongue that usually is strictly for Bentos went into the jars. Since I’m not working and therefore not making Bento anymore that should be fine.
Giving Thanks. Everyone has their traditions, one of mine is making a Sabbath (Friday after Thanksgiving) night Thanksgiving dinner featuring food that we have grown on our urban farm. It started as a way of having plenty of left-overs for Ray’s lunches when he was working in the woods. That was such a physical job, I couldn’t get enough calories into him to keep his pants fitting snug. These days it is a night to celebrate our harvest. Besides beans there were homegrown potatoes, fresh (frozen) corn, pumpkin and apple pies, jams for the rolls made from (store bought) organic flour and our own eggs, pickles, dilly beans, fresh salads with the tomatoes that were picked green at the final harvest, and if we the frost held off, artichokes. Even the turkey we bought (organic or Kosher) was seasoned with herbs and apples grown at home.
This year? Four pints of snap beans. Does that worry me? Honestly? It does worry me a little bit. But I know the story of the first Thanksgiving.
Psalm 55 My prayer time was from Psalm 55. Trouble overwhelmed David. He was not sure that the Almighty would be able or willing to hear his prayer. The opening words, “Give ear…” are from a Hebrew word that pictures putting your open hands behind your ears so that you can hear something from far away. He says he is “restless” (I’m reading the NAS) from the voice of hate (the enemy), there is a grudge against him, he is overwhelmed with everything going on around him. The very walls of the city, meant to protect those within, feel like a cage. He longs to just escape. Someone he counted as a dear friend in the Lord is the worst hater. David is so unsettled by circumstances that fear has become the controlling factor of his life.
Like David, I’ve thought that my circumstances were my reality instead of my challenge to stand firm in the Almighty. God is not controlled by circumstances. Walking in the shadow of his wings (the edge of the prayer shawl, and thus aware of His presence in prayer), I should know by now that circumstances are just chances to Trust in the LORD with a heart that belongs completely to Him (Proverbs 3:5-6). One more opportunity to know that I am safe with Him instead of on my own to sort life out. By the close of Psalm 55, David figures this out. It takes me longer then the length of a poem-prayer. But the Almighty loves me and opens my eyes to see what is real instead of what is meant to control my emotional state.
Cast your burden upon the LORD, and He will sustain you; He will never allow the righteous to be shaken. Psalm 55:22
Even in my emotions I am not on my own. For Thanksgiving dinner we have snap beans. But there is bounty from other years too. Quarts of apple pie filling, homemade canned Brandied Cranberry Sauce, frozen pumpkin, jars of jam. The yard is still filled with herbs. Remember the story of the first Thanksgiving?
The most important element wasn’t the abundance, it was remembering the days of having nothing. Seriously, nothing. There was a season of having two kernels of parched corn EACH…. TWO KERNELS! Each. If they ate more then that then there wouldn’t be enough to plant in the spring. They chose to receive those two kernels of corn with Thanksgiving, and the LORD sustained them to a time of abundance. On the day of abundance, that first Thanksgiving (that is what we call it, they were celebrating Sukkot) the table was set with the best linen, tableware, the best of everything that makes a festive dinner party. They were seated to their finest, and on the plates? Two kernels of corn to remind them of the fruit of Thanksgiving. Thanking our LORD in all things and for all things is powerful. Before they indulged in the feast, they gave thanks for what God had done for them, He did the impossible and sustained them with food that probably required more calories to eat then it provided. I have four pints of home grown snap beans. Fear can control me or I can rest in YHVH. My challenge is really simple, What are you facing? Have you laid it into the lap of the Almighty with thanksgiving?
Debs in Everett, WA ….feeling peace about the coming winter (Proverbs 31:25b)