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The Miracle of Shady Meadow
By Judith Bronte

Chapter One

Dear Mr. Editor:

The article read as follows: "Miss Cornelia Dewey passed away yesterday due to old age. She was 87. No surviving relatives." It pains me to see how many people misunderstood Miss Dewey. She was the godliest person that I have ever had the honor of knowing.

In the interest of informing people about this gentle lady, I would like to tell you of an incident that has been referred to as "the miracle of shady meadow".

To give you a perfect understanding of the way things were, I must go back five years. We had already known each other for some time, and I often visited her house. Even though she was sixty years older than I, we talked as though we were equals. Not that I ever tried to be disrespectful or talk out of turn, but her demeanor made you forget that she was eighty-two.

"A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother."
~ Proverbs 18:24 ~

We were an odd pair.

It happened one day in April, (I forget the exact date), when we were sitting outside sipping our tea. It was a mild day and the breeze was just strong enough to mess carefully brushed hair. Miss Cornelia loved having tea. Mind you it was not the tea itself, but the formality of "having" it. Every Sunday afternoon we would sit at her tea table (which was moved outside if the weather permitted) and discuss what had been said in church that morning.

"Pastor James did very well this morning," Miss Cornelia stated.

"I wonder, though, that he did not notice that his shoe was untied," Miss Cornelia said slyly, with one eye on me. She knew that pointing out any superficial faults in my fiance irked me. She loved to tease me.

"I'm sure he wasn't aware of it," I said as calmly as I could with a straight face.

"Yes, it was done ignorantly," she affirmed graciously.

I glanced at her face from the corner of my eye.

She caught me.

"I see you peeping at me!" she exclaimed jubilantly.

I tried to stifle a smile but failed miserably.

"Miss Corny," (I sometimes called her that), "Even if he forgets to tie both shoes, I will marry him just the same," I jokingly laughed.

"Laugh if you must, young lady, but you won't find it humorous when someday he forgets his shoes entirely." The sobriety on her face made me double over in laughter.

She was right. James is a little forgetful. I still tease him about it to this day.

It was then she brought up a subject that had been discussed in church that morning. (No doubt to change the subject.)

"Do you know, if it doesn't rain soon, food will be scarce this year?"

I grew serious immediately. This had been a growing concern with everyone who lived in Shady Meadow. As you know, everyone here depends on their crops and gardens to feed and sustain themselves throughout the whole year. Most crops require rain early on in the year to be able to harvest them before winter. If it rained too late in the year, then the food would not be harvested in time.

"Prayer should be made to God to remind Him that we need rain," I said.

Miss Cornelia looked at me thoughtfully. "Do you know why God has restrained the rain?"

"The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained."
~ Genesis 8:2 ~

"Because He's testing us?"

"Yes, He is testing us." She poured another cup of tea.

"But, I think He also wants us to believe that He will provide for our needs, rain, or no rain."

"Your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask Him."
~ Matthew 6:8 ~

I agreed with her, but wondered what she meant by "rain, or no rain."

Chapter Two

One month went by, and still no rain. However that is when the mysterious event started. Every field in Shady Meadow had tiny sprouting plants. As you remember, Mr. Editor, everyone greatly wondered how the plants could be sprouting if it hadn't rained yet that year. Yet everywhere there were signs of new vegetation. As the months passed, it became apparent that the fields surrounding Shady Meadow were drying up, while the crops in the meadow continued to flourish.

How could this happen? Everyone had their opinion. Some said that there was a basin under the meadow that caught water and collected it there. Others said there wasn't a basin. But everyone referred to it as "the miracle of Shady Meadow".

Everyday I would visit Miss Cornelia with more news of the the miracle. People were claiming that not only were their crops growing, but they were growing to proportions never before seen in the meadow.

"Mrs. Dill said that her cabbages are as big as watermelons!" I said while bursting through Miss Cornelia's front gate with excitement.

"Well, nice to see you too," she grinned, pretending to be unimpressed.

"Hi ... and Mr. Jenkins said that his ears of corn are larger than his feet! Just think of that, his FEET!" I collapsed into the porch swing out of breath.

"And Mr. Jenkins with the largest feet in the meadow," she replied jokingly.

"I'm serious, Miss Corny," I said in my most serious voice.

"I know, dear. Tell me, what do you think is happening?" She looked at me with her "I know the answer, but do you?" gaze.

I thoughtfully replied that God was showing us He would provide for us even when it looked contrariwise, and even more than we could ask.

"Prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
~ Malachi 3:10 ~

Miss Cornelia nodded approvingly.

"Good girl!"

Chapter Three

That year everyone in Shady Meadow continually praised God for saving their meadow from the drought. People that had not believed that God was able to provide, now openly admitted they were wrong. The whole valley overflowed with peace and an over abundance of food.

"Who giveth food to all flesh: for His mercy endureth for ever. O give thanks unto the God of Heaven: for His mercy endureth for ever."
~ Psalms 136:25-26~

It was soon after the time of great blessing that I remembered the only one in the meadow who did not act astonished was Miss Cornelia. In my excitement I had not noticed that she never acted surprised. I was the only one who ever visited her, so no one ever noticed. I made up my mind to ask her the next day.

I picked my timing carefully.

"Miss Cornelia, were you expecting the miracle?"

She glanced in my direction.

"Whatever do you mean?"

"Everyone in the meadow was surprised but you. I remember a few months ago you said that God would provide for us, rain, or no rain."

She continued the activity that she found so engrossing.

"Miss Cornelia?"

She sighed.

"I was hoping to keep it a secret -- "

"What do you mean?"

"Don't interrupt, dear. It's not polite," she said as she patted me on the knee.

I prayed for patience, for Miss Cornelia was taking her time, and I was eager to understand what had happened.

"I prayed last year that God would make the plants grow even if it did not rain a single drop. I wanted God to show everyone in Shady Meadow that He is able to give more than we could ask or think, even in the midst of a drought."

"Behold, the eye of the LORD is upon them that fear Him, upon them that hope in His mercy; To deliver their soul from death, and to keep them alive in famine."
~ Psalms 33:18-19 ~

"Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the Power that worketh in us."
~ Ephesians 3:20 ~

I was amazed. The great miracle was that this godly woman had interceded for everyone in Shady Meadow. They had never thought much about her needs, much less cared. But she loved them inspite of their ambivalence.

"Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head."
~ Romans 12:20 ~

Chapter Four

Mr. Editor, it is my wish that you will publish this letter. Miss Cornelia Dewey loved us more than we loved her. In her humility, she made me promise to never tell anyone about her prayer while she was alive. After she was dead, I could speak if I thought that it would do everyone some good. This morning when I saw the obituary page in your newspaper stating that she had merely passed away, I thought it was time to speak.

"Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints."
~ Psalms 116:15 ~

"And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these My brethren, ye have done it unto Me."
~ Matthew 25:40 ~

The End


You may republish this without permission, provided it remains free, accredited and unaltered. Copyright © 2008 Sarah Fall (aka Judith Bronte).