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Leave the Flowers for the Town

It was April 15th 2004, and I had finally finished all of my schoolwork. I put my final grades in the green leather scorebook and tossed it on Mom’s computer desk for her to send the last report the school. It was all over with, every last bit of it. Every quiz, every test, every assignment, every project, and every page of reading was done. No more textbooks, no more CD-ROM classes, and best of all, no more work books. I was done. With stiff legs, I slowly stood up from the floor where I had been sitting, and walked over to the kitchen window, and looked out. The sun shone brightly across our heart-shaped pond, and the dirt road above glistened from the melting snow. Early spring flowers had begun to come up, and the roads were lined in their soft and delicate beauty. I stepped outside onto the front steps and looked down the length of the road, and across the empty land. It was empty of life, business, and the ugliness of society, but full of wonder, peacefulness, and the revelation of God’s character. I had lived here for five years. I laugh sometimes because when someone finds out your from New York, they automatically think you’re from the city, but it’s not like any other part of New York. It’s special. When I first moved here, I hated it. I hated not being around the village kids. I hated being away from what civilization there was out here, and I hated the dirt road, but as I grew in the Lord, I came to love every square inch of it. Coming back to my senses, I watched as our little puppy ran out onto the melting ice across the pond, with his mother close behind to snatch him up, and bring him safely back to the dry ground. A breeze stirred the hair at the nape of my neck as I started to walk up our driveway, towards the country road, and I began to think about what I would do next with my life. Dad, having high hopes for his daughter, had subtly implied a secular college, while Mom never really suggested anything. Aunts in Ohio had asked me to come out and live with them, and I had an older sister who wanted me to become a live-in nanny for her kids. My big brothers, who had had farm jobs since they were 10 years old, said that work was the best option. Others said I should stay home and work in the church and there were a few that said I should stay home and get a job, save up for a couple of years and then go to college. Options lay innumerable before me, and each one had appealed to me in its own way, but in the back of my mind there was one more option, that I had suppressed for a long time. As I walked along the country road, absorbed in its beauty, the soft voice of an older and respectable woman whispered in the back of my mind, slowly surfacing to the front. I could vaguely see her standing behind the small wooden pulpit in our little church, standing before the large crowd of our annual camp meeting attendees, sharing her witnessing experiences. She talked of a tiny Bible school somewhere in Pennsylvania, and asked, “Is the Lord calling you to Bible School? Is He calling you?” I quickly pushed the words back and continued slowly walking down the road. I brought the flowers to the front of my mind, and closed out any thought of Bible school. I was too young, and I loved this place too much to leave it for a dorm room full of noisy girls, and three more years worth of tests. I couldn’t leave these flowers, and my fields. They’d brought me so close to God. I couldn’t leave my dirt road, or my woods and the little creek outback. The Lord and I had walked all over this land together. Walking out here was how I prayed! I tilted my head to the sky and whispered, “God, I’ll have no place to pray in Pennsylvania. They don’t have wild flowers filling their ditches, or the little creeks with the tiny waterfalls. They don’t have thick alfalfa fields to tromp through. There’s not peace and quiet where I can just listen to You, or solitude. I’ll never be able to hide from thirty-some girls. There will be nothing there but noise, God. God, I like my hills, and my land.” Casting another look at the flowers, I said again, “God, I can’t leave my flowers, just let me stay here. Let me stay in my New York.” But as I continued down the road, all that I could think of was people. People hurting, people crying, people with no hope. People wanting a Savior. People in foreign lands, children in hospitals, teenagers in jail, the depressed in Mental health clinics. Kicking stones as I walked, I said, “God, I don’t know how to reach them. Lord, just show me how to reach them.” Again, the little Bible school came to mind, and the words of an old English poem began echoing in my heart. It was a poem I had read in school at least a year before, and had long forgotten, but I just listened as the Holy Spirit whispered each word into my ear. “I said, ‘Let me walk in the fields.’ He said, ‘No, walk in the town.’ I said, ‘There are no flowers there’ He said, ‘No flowers but a crown.’ Word by word the Holy Spirit made it clearer and clearer to me that I was to leave this peaceful contentment, but I still fought. “God, I don’t want to live in a noisy dorm. I want to be alone, with You. There’s nothing there for me. There are souls here. You can teach me to reach souls here.” The soft, gentle words continued. “I said, ‘but the skies are black, There is nothing but noise and din’ He wept as He sent me back, “There is more,” He said, “There is sin” I said, “But the fog is thick, And fogs are veiling the sun” He answered, “Yet souls are sick, And souls in the dark undone.” In reply to the old poem, I sadly spoke out loud. “Oh but God, I’ll miss the sunshine. I’ll miss walking this road with You, and I’ll miss sitting under the trees with You. I’ve started things that I won’t be able to finish, and people say they will miss me. God I don’t want to leave the sunshine to be inside all day. “I shall miss the light, And my friends will miss me they say.” He answered, “Choose tonight, If I am to miss you, or they.” “God, can’t I stay home one more year? Just let me finish things up, and get certain things up and running, and then I’ll go. Let me get a little bit older God. I’m too young anyway. I promise God, I’ll go, just let me have one more year here.” I pleaded for time to be given, He said, “Is it hard to decide? It won’t seem hard in heaven, To have followed the steps of your guide.” “God, I’m so afraid. I’m afraid to go. I’ve never had to leave everything I’ve known, for a place I know nothing about. I’m afraid God.” I cast one look at the fields, Then set my face toward the town; He said, “My child, do you yield? Will you leave the flowers for a crown?” Then into His hand went mine, And into my heart came He, And I walk in a light divine, The path I had feared to see. (George MacDonald) I’ve been here at Free Gospel Bible Institute for seven months, and the school year is almost finished. I can truly say, as the Old English Poet wrote, that I walk in a light divine, the path I had feared to see, and everyday I learn about reaching the lost. I’ve discovered that I don’t need the fields, and I don’t need the woods to be with God. They were simply an aid that God used to bring me closer to Him in my early years as a Christian. When I need to be alone with God, a piece of paper works fine, and if I need to cry out to Him, I’m ten steps away from a sanctuary wherever I am. I no longer need to live in solitude, for there are no lost souls in solitude, nor can I obey the high calling of Jesus Christ, or fulfill the great commission in solitude. I had no reason to fear His call, for God knows exactly what He’s doing. I’ve learned that I don’t need to be in a certain place, or have certain surroundings in order to live for Jesus Christ. I am getting closer to God by obeying Him and His call, than I would be if I was still home enjoying His flowers. This was an English assignment that I wrote my freshmen year in Bible School. As I just reading through it I realized how just how much of my prayer for God to teach me how to reach people has been answered. I have learned so much about the ministry since I became a student at Free Gospel Bible Institute two years ago. I am now a senior and find it amazing how God always knows exactly what He is doing and what we need, and where we need to be to get it!

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