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Hartselle Enquirer
A. Ray Lee ss

Times of refreshing  

A. Ray Lee

Columnist 

Work on the farm in the 1940s was hands-on and labor-intensive. We were busy all year but especially from March through November. Our goal was to have an abundant crop to harvest. Reaching that goal demanded the diligent labor of each family member. As soon as the soil was dry enough to plough after the winter rains, and warm enough to germinate seeds, the family’s schedule was centered on the work required. Each day as daylight arrived, we hastily did the regular morning chores so we could be in the fields early. While school was in session my brothers and I hurried home on the old school bus and rushed to the fields. Saturdays found us giving a full day of work.  After the school term ended in May, we joined the full-time workforce.  

We did not observe any holidays during the growing season except Easter. Scheduled rest came on Sundays. The only other possible downtime was when rain made the fields too wet to work. As a young boy, I often prayed that the heavens would open with a gully-washing downpour. But even on rainy days there were hoes and ploughs to be sharpened, vegetables to be picked from the garden between showers for canning, corn to be shucked, and odd chores which had been neglected. J. J. was a stern task master and we dreaded the words he often spoke: “Boys do this or that while you rest.”   

In mid to late July the halfway point in our goal was reached. We had faithfully cultivated and hoed the cotton. There was nothing else we could do but wait for picking time which would begin in late August. The corn had been side dressed with fertilizer to give it a boost as it began to tassel and grow ears. It would require no more attention until after the cotton had been picked. The last of the hay had been put in the barn. All we could do was pray the weather would be favorable for a good crop. At this time we were tired physically and mentally from long days in the fields and ready for a break. That feeling was reflected in the life of the church.  Attendance at services had dwindled. Faith and its works had not been given adequate attention and consideration as we had been preoccupied with our crops. Church attendance had taken second place in our lives as we dealt with obstacles of weather, invading insects, and the daily anxiety they produced. The spirit of the church was low. It too needed a time of refreshing and restoration of its strength. 

A week of revival services became an annual event after the crops had been “laid by”. For a week our activities revolved around the daily morning and evening services. It provided a time of rest as our physical activities were lessened and our minds were redirected for a significant period of time.  

There are times in life when our bodies and spirits need refreshing. We grow tired and are sometimes weighed down by the cares of living. Life loses its joy. We may be overcome with anxieties. There is relief in God’s word. The disciples discovered it in the Pentecost event described in the early chapters of the Book of Acts. Peter preached that times of refreshing will come from the presence of the Lord. (See Acts 3:19) 

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