Hoping for better things

Rev Trevor Boyd

4.12.2021 | Mission in Ireland, Farming & Rural Life

Rev Trevor Boyd writes that farmers often look forward to things being better than they are now – and he counts himself among that number of eternal optimists. But he says, for all the things that can be done to improve any given situation, it is only God who can change our lives giving us a better future on this earth and a perfect eternity in heaven.

After an absence of ten years I have just completed the purchase of two Ile De France ewe lambs to go along with the two Ile De France ram lambs that I bought in August to re-establish my flock. I hope this time around I can breed better sheep than I did before!

I find it interesting that as farmers we often look forward to things being better than they are now. We appear to have an automatic inclination to want things to be better, always looking ahead to the future as a space that provides the opportunity for improvement. Some would describe farmers as ‘eternal optimists’, producing livestock and growing crops because next year things are going to be better.

Always looking forward to a fresh start

When I last kept Ile De France (pictured) I took my Christmas holidays and spent that time lambing sheep. For me, December was the month when I thought about putting the mistakes, or the failures, or regrets of the past year, behind me as I moved on to a new year. We read in Isaiah 43:25 “I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions, for My own sake, and remembers your sins no more.” It is only God who can forgive us and help us to put the past behind us and give us that new start.

When I was a salesman, selling animal health products, towards the end of the company’s sales year I would start to look forward to a fresh start on 1 January, hoping for a better year in terms of sales. On the farm, it was the time when new lambs would be born, accompanied by the expectation that due to a different ram, or a different feed ration, they would be bigger and better than the year before - and more valuable! I was doing new things, hoping they were a step in the right direction, while all the time God can change everything. As it says in Revelation 21:5 “He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’”

We often think that if we tweak something in our life we will be a better person. We sometimes use the saying, ‘You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear’, looking at that triplet lamb that survived, or the calf with the deformed joints, we accept that they will never amount to much. We can even think this about people! Yet, we can hope for things to be better in all our lives because according to 1 Peter 1:3 “…In His great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

Our lives in His hands

God is the One who can and who will make all things not just better, but perfect. It takes God to change our hearts to make us a different and truly better person. It is God alone who can deal with our sinful nature. Many years ago, one December when I was a young boy, it was God who changed my life forever when I accepted Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour. I am far from perfect, but I know that it is only Jesus who can give us a better future on this earth and a perfect eternity in heaven. This December will you ask Jesus to change your life for the better and accept Him as Lord and Saviour?

Trevor Boyd is the minister of Draperstown and Tobermore Presbyterian Churches in the shadow of the Sperrin Mountains in County Londonderry. Married to Barbara, the father of three is a sheep breeder and previously sold animal health products across Northern Ireland.

His blog appeared in a fortnightly column entitled ‘Good News For the Countryside’, in today’s Farming Life, where people from a farming background, or who have a heart for the countryside, offer a personal reflection on faith and rural life.

You can look at other blogs in this series here.

If you would like to talk to someone about any of the issues raised in this article, please email Rev Kenny Hanna, PCI’s Rural Chaplain at ruralchaplain@presbyterianireland.org or call him on 07938 488 372.

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