Relief from Above

In the summer of the early 1970’s I had a job operating a tractor to mow a pasture. The shredder behind the tractor was 5 feet wide. The pasture was nearly two hundred acres. I mowed in a circle, first once around the pasture, then again about four feet in from the fence.

It was monotonous work to say the least. It was also hot. As was typical of summers in that part of East Texas the temperature during the afternoon was near 100 in the shade. There was no shade on the tractor. In addition to the heat from the sun, the diesel tractor motor in front of me generated even more heat. The fan from the radiator blew air past the hot engine into my face.

One particular afternoon I was especially miserable. I thought the heat would drive me out of my mind and there seemed to be no escape from it. I began to hope for a little cloud cover to block the sun. I looked up and there was literally not a cloud to be seen in the sky.

It occurred to me to ask God for a cloud. I had been taught you don’t ask God for things like that. You pray for strength to handle was is in front of you. You pray for wisdom to make the right choice. You don’t pray for things, and you especially don’t pray for things just because you want them. Still, I was desperate. I wasn’t hopeful, but I was certainly desperate.

I set my mind to bearing the heat and waiting for the sun to at least start sinking in the sky later in the afternoon. I was determined not to stop, even for water. I wanted to do a good job, and the pasture was not getting mowed if I hung around the water cooler. If I could just keep going the time would grow later, the shadows longer, and the oppressive heat would subside just a little. Around and around the acreage I went.

Suddenly I felt cool. I looked around me and saw a track of shade vs. sun moving away from me and leaving me shaded from the sun. I looked up. There was a small cloud between me and the sun. There was only one small cloud in all of the great big sky, and it was directly between me and the sun.

I stopped the tractor, leaned back and smiled at the world. I breathed the cooler air deeply and rested for a moment. I raised my hands up into the shade and stretched my back. Soon the little cloud moved away and I restarted the tractor to continue on with my task. I was refreshed, feeling great, and perhaps even bolstered by the thought God was listening and looking out for me.

That story is completely true and accurate. There may be a message in the story somewhere, but if so it is up to you to find it. It was more than thirty years ago and I still don’t have a clue what to make of it.

Photo by Natalie Maynor