There’s something about moving abroad that makes you appreciate aspects of your home country that you took for granted before (such as very green grass), didn’t realise were unique (short-cut grass, apparently) or never considered much (only a small percentage of land in Scotland is suitable for growing crops). 

It has become a bit of a tradition for my parents and I to go to a garden café when I’m visiting them in Scotland. Usually, it’s a final outing before I return to Austria. To keep up the reputation of tended lawns and increase the area of cultivated Scottish land, this garden café is a place where green fingers get vegetables, fruit and flowers to flourish. Meanwhile, people like me, who struggle to keep a houseplant alive, can have a cuppa surrounded by life and colour.

Last time we went together with my fiancé and some friends. After a coffee, we wandered past blooms in bordered flowerbeds, ambled through neat grounds and glanced inside the greenhouses. 

During our leisurely stroll, we came across a pigpen.

No more finely kept grass; it ended where the enclosure began. Beyond the fence, the inhabitants had trampled the turf into deep, moist mud. I commented on the squelchy state of their pen. 

To my surprise—and slight dismay—my father reached over the fence and started to scratch one of the pigs behind its ears (“Dad, you know you’ll need to wash your hands afterwards!”). He often pets a passing dog, but extending his greeting to a farm pig was new. 

We watched. The pig appeared to like it. Later, I imagined the pig thinking: “Hello, what’s this? A tickle? Oh! No one has scratched me behind the ears since I was a little piglet!” In fact, the pig leaned into the tickle.

My father continued to scratch the animal’s tough skin covered in long coarse hair. We looked on, fascinated. It really seemed to relish the attention. Did I detect a smile?!

Suddenly, as if its knees had gone weak and couldn’t take its weight anymore, the pig keeled to one side, dropped to the ground and lay in the mud. I think it just couldn’t contain the emotion! 

The other pig went over and sniffed at it as if to say: “Hey sister, what happened to you?” We laughed at the unexpected sight and scenario.

My fiancé wondered aloud if that wasn’t a picture of how Jesus comes to us. Jesus is not worried by the mud we are standing in. He’s not afraid to reach out. Once we encounter Jesus and are met with His love, His forgiveness and His grace, we are overwhelmed too. It changes us, causing others to question: “Hey, what happened to you?”

I want to grasp more and more how much God loves me and let His love transform my life in new ways. 

A love that is everlasting and not dependent on having a “good day.”

A love that casts out fear. 

A love that enables me to love others like Jesus. 

I’ve often read the verse at the end of Ephesians as a stand-alone promise: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” – Ephesians 3:20-21 (NIV). Recently though, I noticed these words come directly after a prayer for believers in verses 14 – 19 to have the power to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ.

It struck me — we can pray and ask God to help us understand His love for us. He is able to answer this prayer beyond our imagination; even during a walk in pretty garden grounds while observing a pig that almost passed out!

Fathoming God’s love isn’t something we should only remember from back when we were a little piglet, as it were. We need a fresh and renewed understanding, again and again, throughout our lives. 

Kneel. Pray. He is able to do immeasurably more than we all ask… 

Inger loves to share what God is doing and give people a voice as she writes for OM’s media team, based in Austria. She likes to go for walks—especially by the shore—make gifts and relax with a good brew of tea.

Share this Resource

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on pinterest
Share on email
Share on print

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Outreach Developer London United Kingdom    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a passion for cities, the plethora of openings for the Gospel; a calling to London?  Do you have skills to reach the least reached?  Can you help immigrants learn English? Can you organise outreach to the marginalised, working alongside secular partners?  Or manage a hall for community outreach? Are you equipped to fulfil this portfolio role? You would be working with local churches and other partners to help vibrant communities be formed among the least reached in London.
Full Details
TP Media House Volunteer Program United Kingdom    Go & Live    As soon as possibleTP Media House is an OM UK partner organization that is set up to share the good news through digital Media. At TP Media Studio we believe in developing skills and individuals so they get a professional experience on the skill side but also develop a passion for Christ and people they will be impacting.
Full Details
Creative Ministry Leader United Kingdom    Go & Live    As soon as possibleA melting pot of cultures; lots of young people; a venue – do you have the expertise to run a community outreach project?  Do you have skills that could bless a community and create a safe space for the gospel to be shared?  The community has typical inner-city social challenges, combined with immigrant communities from many nations.  You would be working with local churches and other partners to help vibrant communities be formed among the least reached in London.
Full Details
Horn of Africa Community Worker Birmingham United Kingdom    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a heart for the people from the Horn of Africa?  Are you willing to learn their language and seek to understand their culture?  Do you want to get to know them, share the Gospel and disciple young believers?    This is a pioneer ministry, very few are intentionally trying to do this, but you will serve with a church and seek to help those from the Horn of Africa meet Jesus and be part of a vibrant community of Jesus followers.
Full Details
Kids ‘n’ Things Staff Member United Kingdom    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you gifted at working with children? Would you like to develop your abilities in a team which is focused on children’s ministry in UK schools and churches? Are you interested in working with others to design, prepare and present creative programs with a clear, relevant Christian message? Would you like to learn new skills that you can use to reach children with the gospel and help them on their journey to becoming Jesus followers?
Full Details
Software Developer – INT Carlisle United Kingdom    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDevelopers are urgently needed to work on the software tools provided by the international IT team. These include desktop applications for finance and HR, web applications for our custom intranet solution and integration tools for third party cloud based ERP systems.
Full Details
Youth Worker United Kingdom    Go & Live    As soon as possibleYoung people today are searching for what is real and what works in their lives. They are moving from childhood to adulthood. Some have already started a friendship with Jesus but lack a mentor to disciple them in their relationship with Christ, while others have never heard of Christ. Around the world, there is a tremendous need for full-time youth workers, who have a deep desire to see young people develop in their walk with Jesus. In many circumstances, creativity is needed to find ways to make connections and build relationships with young people. Do you share our passion to see young people discover who Jesus is and be built up to become men and women who follow Him? Consider joining us on this journey!
Full Details
Diaspora Evangelist United Kingdom    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you eager to go to those parts of the community that are unreached?  London is a magnet for the nations in flux.  Migrants, refugees, asylum seekers all find their niche in this most cosmopolitan city.  Are you willing to seek to understand their culture and walk alongside them?  Do you want to get to know them, share the Gospel and disciple young believers?    Working with a church you will help this international community meet Jesus and be part of a vibrant community of Jesus followers.
Full Details
Arab Community Worker United Kingdom    Go & Live    As soon as possibleDo you have a heart for those from North Arica, and Middle East?  Do you want to get to know them, share the Gospel and disciple young believers?    You will work with another couple seeking to help these people meet Jesus and be part of a vibrant community of Jesus followers.
Full Details