There was a time when my husband aspired to be a self-sufficient, back-to-the-land pioneer. He bought a windmill, some oil lamps, beehives, and a couple of pigs, which our son named Lois Lane and Clark Kent… This dirty duo caused me many headaches, from the day we took them home. Although tied in gunny sacks and secured in the back of our pickup truck, the Houdini hoglets managed to free themselves , leap from the truck, and head for the hills. We eventually got the slippery little buggers safely home, but only after a rough and tumble scramble through the woods.
Lois and Clark were adventurous piglets who soon learned to scale their little pig house and jump off the roof to freedom outside their fence. Motorists on the busy highway near our home frequently reported seeing “two wild pigs” darting between cars. And more than once, I received angry phone calls from neighbors who found the pair digging up their flower beds.
I was usually the only one home when the pigs went exploring, so the job of luring them home fell to yours truly. How does one convince two full grown hogs to follow you? It requires a slop bucket full of cottage cheese, apple peels, and other goodies.
Once I had to trudge through waist-high snow, leaving a trail behind me of table scraps. By this time, L and C had become man eaters, so they followed close behind chomping at my heels.
Yes, pigs BITE – at least Lois and Clark did. And once they tasted blood, they preferred it to their usual diet. That diet consisted of truckloads of stale bakery bread , sour milk from the dairy, and scraps from local restaurants. Keeping the pair of porkers fed was a job. Lois and Clark ate a lot – and you can imagine what else they did – a LOT. The manure pile grew into a mountain which remained in the field long after Lois and Clark were transformed to bacon and porkchops and laid to rest in our freezer.
The following summer, I planted a huge garden. I weeded it, fertilized it, and tended it daily only to discover at the end of the season that my prized vegetables were dwarfed in comparison to the huge tomatoes, cucumbers, and squash that had sprung up from the manure pile.
Why am I telling you more than you cared to know about pigs and manure? Because there is something to be learned here. (God has lessons for us everywhere, if we are willing to see them.)
Most folks have felt the pain of seeing their hopes shattered and dreams destroyed. We all have felt at times like life is one big dung heap and we’re living smack dab in the middle of a mountain of manure!
The Bible says that God can produce beauty from ashes. He can take the smelly, disgusting pile of manure that our lives can sometimes be – and He can grow some prize- winning, life-giving fruit (and veggies) from what looks to us like garbage.
So, you see, there is hope – even atop the manure pile. Just as the garbage in a compost heap makes a garden grow, the garbage in our lives can bring forth good things too and help us to grow.
We may wonder why God allows the manure to pile up in our lives, but I’m sure it’s no accident or surprise to Him. It couldn’t happen without His approval. The good news is that we don’t have to climb that manure mountain alone. Yes, trouble comes into every life, but we have a source of strength to uphold and guide us; and we have hope, the essential ingredient for making it through the dung heap.
So grab a shovel and start digging. There’s a harvest on the other side.