So as I mentioned last week, this week’s read, Scouting the Divine by Margaret Feinberg, is about a woman who decides to look more closely at the agrarian themes of the Bible. She visits a shepherdess, a farmer, a beekeeper, and a vintner to better understand some of the most common references to the earth in the bible: sheep, wheat, honey, and wine. Key to so many conversations about the Bible is this idea that the book was written in a specific historical and political context, yet this author realizes too the importance of the agrarian context of the Bible. Feinberg decides that the best way for her to truly understand the hundreds of passages that talk about agriculture and food in the Bible is to talk with people whose daily realities center around a particular crop, prompting the visits that inspire this book.
It’s a really quick read, but well worth it. Feinberg digs deep into God’s promise of a land of milk and honey, into Jesus’ call that he is the vine, and we are the branches, into the meaning of first-fruits and gleaning, and into the devoted heart of a shepherd for his sheep. But in addition to these important scriptural insights, Feinberg’s musings also got me thinking about God’s role in my life from a completely different angle. I often think of the ever-discussed “Will of God” as something far out there, that generally guides what I say, do, and believe, but not as something that is not necessarily involved in the minutiae of the everyday. But what the author points out in her time spent with the sheep, hives, and rows of corn and vines, is that God is a God who pays attention to the minutest of details. She points out: “Some people excel at seeing the big picture and identifying overarching themes and goals. Others specialize in the particulars--the fine-tuning of systems and functions. But God is not like us. He specializes in everything from pollen patters to distant galaxies. God knows when a bee doesn’t make it back to its hive. He numbers the wing beats it takes to create a single drop of honey.”
I believe in a God with the power and omnipotence to measure the wing beats of a honey bee, but sometimes I forget that this is the same God that watches over my life. God watches over every little step I take as well as encourages me to take giant leaps. God is a God who pays attention to the big and small parts of my life. So when my life is so crazy that I can barely keep up with the little things like making it to class, going to the grocery store, washing my clothes or sending a few emails, I’m so reassured to know that God is there, in the big and the small, whether I see God’s presence or not.
I was reminded again tonight, sitting at one of the last Gatherings of my college career, what a crux I’m at in my life: I’ve got one month left. Everything I know to be true tonight won’t be the same in a few weeks and months, and that’s scary. Part of me wants to only think about the big picture: jobs, living arrangements, money, goals, dreams, and vocation, while another part of me wants to only think about really living out the last few weeks of college: going to every concert, coffee date, night out, class, and event in lieu of sleeping and homework. It’s hard to find balance in the midst of all of that, but I’m reminded that God is with me in all things, the big and the small, and I can take comfort in that. Hopefully wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, whatever you believe in, you take comfort in the fact that God is with you, too.
A few weeks ago, I came across a used copy of Emily Bronte’s Wuthering Heights in one of my favorite bookstores, Schulers. I’ve been meaning to read more classics, and this one doesn’t look too intimidating, so I think that I’ll take a break from some of the heavier stuff I’ve been reading lately and dive into what’s sure to be a great, classic tale!