Mark and the boys have been collecting sap from the trees again this year to make maple syrup. It is always an exciting time for the entire family, watching a clear watery substance that you can tap out of a tree turns to a golden colored syrup. Many hours of collecting and cooking down. We do not have any fancy equipment so each bucket is hauled by hand and dumped into a 40 gallon drum that sits on a tiny trailer pulled behind our lawn mower tractor with chains around the tires. Mark was up early and you could hear the hum of the lawn mower in the distance as he drove from one maple grove to the next. Trudging through mounds of snow and up the sides of cliffs. Yesterday, they collected 60 gallons of sap! He starts the heating atop the wood burning stove in his shop first. All the while he heats, he works in the shop making clothes drying racks. Mikey was put in charge of cooking over the fire outside to boil down the thicker sap. Bucket by bucket, the sap was added to the finishing cooker pan. Recently, Mark had a spicket tap welded onto the pan, so he could easily empty the pan without burning himself. Last evening, he canned up one and a half gallons. That makes a total of nearly 3 gallons so far this winter. He figures the trees are flowing pretty good and have a lot more sap to offer us yet this year, he wont be surprised if we end up with 8 gallons. I am so excited because I will be using that for baking and for smoothies. There is nothing like the flavor of maple in a smoothie! What a blessing!
Now why the title, Maple Syrup and Mercy?
I can draw a few similarities from the two, which leads me to our GOOD NEWS!!!! You have all been praying, right? Well, we had Molly rechecked and her number was 4!!!!!! The doctors just can not make sense of that number, but it went from over 300 and now down to 4 only one week later, which is normal. She has never been this low before. No diet or pill could make it jump to normal that quickly, so we are almost positive that the Lord has poured out his MERCY to our daughter. She is still a diabetic, but the kidneys are doing well. We are so thankful.
This Mercy is much like Maple syrup in that it takes time to produce it. All your prayers are like the taps in the trees. They draw the sweet loving mercy up from the heart of God. It flows so fully and each drop of this mercy is pure as water. The sweetness is weak yet, and you barely can imagine it turning into something worthy of use. The drops turn into bucket fulls. The cold snow is unfriendly as you toil to gather each bucket. Sometimes you slip and fall, and buckets are dumped. You become discouraged. The work in finding each bucket and even more so, the endurance it takes to climb the cliffs to gather it, makes each drop more precious than gold. And as each bucket is poured out, they add up to swells. The heating refines that mercy. The fires are hot and they burn. The time of boiling feels so impossible as it takes so long to see any changes. Sometimes you stare at the fire and see only danger-- you see only the flames. But above the flames, above the smoke that clouds the eyes, is the refined mercy. The finishing touches of an Almighty God who knows all things, and makes all things possible. He turns something weak, into something rich and strong. A substance worth a high price. And that mercy overflows and makes life so much sweeter. May this news bring sweetness and strength to all of you who have been praying. We pray that you will all be blessed.
"Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting."
~1 Timothy 1:16