Tears drenched my pillow, but Want took my hand and lead me to the Lord. We went through the Red Sea and across the wilderness. Want and I visited David when He was anointed by Samuel to be king many years before he was appointed by the people. David gave me hope and promise. As did the Shunemite woman to whom the Lord granted a son, who died, and whose life was restored even as Jesus restored the life of the widow’s only son.
Saint Want was a cruel soul mate who caused pain and suffering that could only be soothed by hope. Yet Saint Want showed me that God was alive and near. Chrysostom wrote that in the deepest darkness the light of God shines brightest. God always stood by me in times of disappointment and sorrow, not to relieve me, just to be with me so that in suffering I never despaired.
After a nine month battle with demons we landed on a place I named God’s Green Acre, a big place of rolling fields and streams. I rejoiced in the Lord’s ability to guide me through the valley of the shadow of death. I pitched an orange tent of prayer there in which I held long meetings with my Lord and King. There was much work to do to tend the garden of the Lord. Mowing and weeding, bushhogging too. The harder the work, the dirtier and sweatier I became, the happier I was to be creating a place where God’s children (and mine) could come to enter tent-like cells in which they could commune with the One who lead Israel through the wilderness.
In the summer my naked toddlers splashed in pools of clear water and we laughed and sang out loud. On a day that I crossed the larger stream to the wildest part of this property I looked up to see a tree filled with grapes. How could this be I thought; grapes don’t grow on trees! But they did on God’s Green Acre because an old thick grape vine had climbed a scruffy birch tree and produced a thousand grapes. I was humbled to think how human beings resemble the grape with its myriad of destinies, that may become even as lofty as the Blood of Christ. I planned someday to build a Chapel of the Transfiguration beside the grape tree.
Soon after an officer of the law arrived with a long hard stick to force us off God’s Green Acre. Being early with child I was too ill to fight even though every ounce of my being screamed in anguish.
Oh King David how keenly I feel the pain of your exile in Ziglag! In the years that followed our departure I returned to God’s Green Acre often to cry and pray and to remember the days of blissful toil.
Echoes of Hebrews ran through my mind, “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who earnestly seek Him.”
“All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.”
For the first ten or so years I refused to believe that I would not return someday to fulfill the plan of creating a place of refuge and communion with God.
Now twenty-five years have passed since my exile from God’s Green Acre. Last week I found myself driving by, so I stopped. I couldn’t remember when I had last visited the place; maybe it has been six months or more. I found there a most desolate place. The rickety barn where I once stored toys and tools had finally collapsed and lay in a pile. The trees were wild and with fallen limbs strewn about. Even the old apple tree that fed my family so well with its abundance of fruit had disappeared.
Two ‘For Sale’ signs from two different companies were planted at the entrance. Even though, by God’s grace I may now have the means to purchase God's Green Acre there is no room in my full life to make real that old vision.
The sight of desolation causes me to stop to think of the many ways my faith has been rewarded, of how it shouldn’t matter how I serve God, but only that I do in any way I can. I am grateful to Saint Want for the journey and the lesson. I hope someone will buy that land and make it their home to love it again. I hope those people will worship Christ there. On the day that the land is sold and the home is built and filled with laughing singing children again, I think I shall pay one last visit, and bring that young family a basket of fruit and tell them that they purchased holy ground.