Desires of my heart
By A. Ray Lee
After spending all of my adult years serving others in sometimes difficult and challenging ministries, I had semi-retired at 65 from 24/7 responsibilities to a quiet country refuge.
From there I continued in short-term missions and compassionate ministries. They sometimes took me away for days and even weeks at a time, but I rested in the knowledge that a haven awaited on Lee Acres when I returned.
One afternoon at twilight, after Effie and I had completed two weeks of ministry in Spain, I walked down by the big timber and a reclaimed pond where deer and critters from the woods and fields came for water.
A great transformation of the land had occurred since the time it was a small farm. The scars inflicted by the plow were covered by a resilient nature. I now walked where I had spent long, weary days in my youth, toiling in cotton fields.
Pine and young hardwood trees grew where once I had trudged along row after row under the broiling Alabama summer sun with a hoe, digging out weeds and grass from among young cotton plants.
In the fall I had dragged a heavy pick sack over the white fields, snatching the opened bolls as the chill of winter drew near.
Suddenly, the words of Robert Browning in “Pippa Passes” came to mind: “God’s in his heaven, and all is right with the world.”
In my reverie it seemed I could feel an atmosphere like that in Eden, when God had walked in the garden with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day.
As darkness descended, I could see a light shining from Effie’s dream house, where she sat by a window, reading. In my memory flashed a picture of a young girl with a captivating smile who, with her family, had come down from Cincinnati to visit relatives. That smile had planted the seed of a dream in a young boy’s heart, a dream that seemed to be improbable of ever becoming a reality but was cherished through adolescence into young adulthood, when it did in fact become a reality.
We had journeyed together through more than 50 years of shared ministry, which had ever expanded as we embraced new opportunities for service.
I had been abundantly blessed with the fruitful life I’d sought in my youth. Through challenges and difficulties along the way, God had prospered my efforts. The greatest desires of my heart had been fulfilled.
I remembered the words of David in one of his psalms of life: “Delight thyself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.”
Shadows were gathering around us as signs of Effie’s declining health were growing more pronounced, but whatever the future might hold for us, I would be eternally grateful we could spend our final years together in our peaceful Eden.