Sanity in the Simple


If we lose sight of the simple things the Lord has blessed us with, we get sucked into a cyclone of complexity. Yet it is in the enjoyment of simple things in life that joy is found.

It could not have been a more beautiful day today. The weather here was in the high Seventies with a light breeze and very little humidity—hard to believe for Southwestern Ohio in August! Clear blue skies and ample sunshine poured down on the verdant fields and forests surrounding our little homestead. I felt like it was one of those June days when I was barely into my twenties and life was lived in the moment, though it also stretched out dazzlingly before me, a banquet ready to sample. You feel the power of your youth coursing in you and all is well with the world.

Life has a habit of fractalizing, becoming infinitely complex when we examine it with the microscope of time and experience. But this is not God’s way. His voice calls us to come away from the swirl of activity and be one with Him:

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away,
for behold, the winter is past;
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree ripens its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my beautiful one,
and come away.
–Song of Solomon 2:10-13 ESV

This is a call the world does not understand. I used to believe it was merely a spiritual call, but I now believe it is something more

A few years ago, my wife and I elected to pack up and move out to the country. We both feel that Christians have lost something in our bid to keep up with the world. But there is something sane in the simple rural life. There is health in the raising of one’s own food, of breaking the soil, working it, and seeing it bring forth life. When I am out on my tractor, a stillness comes over me as I tend the land the Lord has given us out of His goodness. I wonder if we Christians lost something dear when we forsook the land for the factory, skyscraper, and office park.

Just the other day, we attended a meeting designed to help farmers grow wine grapes. At one time the Ohio River Valley was what Napa Valley is today. As we walked through the local vineyards, the bounty of grapes we saw drove it home for me: There is a fruitfulness that can be had in fulfilling the very first command of God to Adam. As the song “All Good Gifts” says, We plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land, and it is fed and watered by God’s almighty hand. It is not easy work, but there is a simple fulfillment in it that is lost for so many people.

Jesus said that his yoke was easy, His burden light. Too many Christians have taken on a hard burden in an effort to keep up with the Joneses. We were never meant to be yoked with the world and its mind-numbing complexity. Any ancient farmer could tell you not to mix your work animals in the yoke or else they will pull in a constant circle, getting nowhere.

Not everyone can drop what they are doing and do what we did, I understand that (and if this post has been rambling for many of you, well sometimes the deepest feelings come out that way.) But no matter what, I know with all my heart that God wants us to dwell in peace and rest in Him. What that takes may be different for every person, but I believe that sometimes the best way to still the soul is to be in a place that is more still by its very nature.

Ask the Lord to help you find that place. It will be both in you and outside you. If you look for it by His Spirit, you will know when you find it because peace is there, as is the sound of the Savior’s voice.

Does your life feel like a spinning wheel careening out of control? Simplicity calls you to come away. A more serene life dwells in us if we listen to that melodious voice that calls out, “Come away….”

2 thoughts on “Sanity in the Simple

  1. Dan, I could read you “ramble” all day long. I think you’re right; when we unwind our thoughts as they come and write them and try a little less hard to edit as we go – we get honest and we convey more. Clarity in this post, for sure. Wonderful message, too. I sure appreciate your recent comments, too. They certainly help to balance the comments from a character who I wish would have never stumbled upon not perfection and decided to stand on the sidewalk with a megaphone.

    I don’t read his comments anymore. It’s better for my sanity, composure, and Peace – the peace that’s a gift from Christ.

    Your life sounds wonderful. Mine’s pretty wonderful, too. God’s good to me.

  2. Anonymous

    I’ve never posted anything in my life and stumbled onto your site by accident. I don’t do blogs or even computers much. But my attention was caught by “Looking for the first century church in the 21st ” Have you ever heard of DAWN ministries and their model of “simple churches” ? You may want to check them out. Hey, that wasnt’ so bad. I guess if I can type, I can post a comment! 🙂

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