It has been quite the year as far as the weather goes which has made life as a farmer interesting to say the least. I know there’s countless blog post and articles stating the woes of the weather and its effects on the crops. This isn’t going to be one of those posts. Rather than speak of the woes of the season, I want to highlight the wonders of this year.
I gained three main take away from this past year: growth happens in hardship, positivity is not dependent on circumstances, and “if God is for us, who can be against us.”
Growth in hardship
I don’t want challenging years. They are far from convenient and give way to anxiety. My heart breaks for my dad who works endlessly just to have everything subject to factors beyond his control. This being said, I don’t believe we individually grow in easy years.
This spring though we planned to plant early, the rain didn’t allow us. Our planting got pushed back as a result to when we should have been chopping first cutting hay. We had to hurry. Everyone on the farm pushed themselves to a new limit. We found out all we were capable of individually and how much better we worked as a team. We planted 200 acres of beans in 3 days and just shy of 200 acres of corn in 7.
Adversity is fertile ground for growth. In James 1:2-3 it says, “consider it pure joy my brothers whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith produces perseverance.” An easy life seems to be ideal, but in reality it stunts growth. And to choose the career path of a farmer is to forsake the easy life! This wasn’t the year we hoped for, but it was the year we grew from.
Positive in all circumstances
I orginally thought that being a optimist or pessimist was something as natural to someone as their DNA. It was what they were born with and nothing would change that. While I think we tend to organically lean towards one or another, we also were given the freedom of choice in life. We can choose our perspective and mindset.
I will never forget this day. I had just finished combining the second to last corn field. The end was in sight! I shifted the combine to head up to the front of the field then on to the last field. Then nothing. The combine wouldn’t move. I made the call I didn’t want to make to my dad to say we broke down. Hs replied with a cheery, “okay! I’ll be right there!” Long story short, a shaft and coupler broke in the transmission. It ended up having us broke down fir over a week. But that evening after towing the combine up to the farm, my dad smiled brightly at me and said, “good job! It was a great day! I’m proud of you. We make a good team.” His positivity had nothing to do with his circumstances.
You could argue that my dad I’d simply like that. And if you know him only in the recent years, you would be lead to believe that. But knowing his past, the way he used to react to things, I know his mindset has changed.
Positive thinking isn’t always natural or absence of negative thoughts. Rather, it is meditating on the good. Philippians 4:8 instructs us of this very thing when it says, “finally brothers and sisters, what’s true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, what’s pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” We choose what kind of day or year we will have by the thoughts we choose to meditate on.
God is for us
This is the last, yet most important point. I have never had a doubt about my dad’s success because of his service to God. Granted, I don’t always know what the outcome will be, for Jesus himself said, “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Yet, whether it is manifested in this life or the next, I know God is for my dad who is a simple man of great faith.
My favorite example of God’s favor on my dad was this spring after we had all the heavy rains and were finally able to get into the field again. I was planting our last field of beans that lays adjacent to another farmer’s field. We had been praying fervently to get back in the fields. As I planted the headland next to our neighbor’s, I noticed the most wonderous phenomena that gave us each a peace that God was farming with us. Though our property was lower ground than theirs, our field was dry ground while the neighbors had a great mass of standing water. While God sends rain on all of us (Matthew 5:45), he also works all things out for good for those that love him and do his work (Romans 8:28).
It is much easier to make it through seasons of flooding and seasons of drought knowing that we are “more than conquerors” and thinking “if God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31) Whether battling calamities on the farm or issues in life, we are not alone in our fight. Through cancer or financial backsides in agriculture or any other issue, I’ve heard people say if my dad, “how can such bad things happen to such a great man?” Sure, some things in life have not been great for him, but if only they could see all the good that us being worked out. While I see this year turning out overall positively, there has been negatives. But in the negative things, my dad has handled them with humility and grace. Maybe some of his reward is manifested on earth. Maybe some of it is stored up in elevators in heaven. Either way, I don’t think he will disagree that all things work out for good.
Though there are positive take aways, we can’t deny the detriment that the weather this year, the year before, and even the year before that have caused on the agricultural community. 2 Chronicles 7:14 says, “If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” Heal their land. Those words are sweet to a farmer’s soul. We can’t control the weather, but we can control our hearts.
There’s no denying the entirety of America needs to turn their heart towards God, but what about specifically the farming community? What are we doing with our hearts? Are we humbling ourselves? Are we praying? Have we turned from our sins? What steps are we taking to heal our land?
I hope every involved in agriculture who reads this, meditates on the position of their hearts. I’m sure there will be those who will debate this, but I believe our turning back to God will be the biggest step towards better farming. Let us not forget who created and entrusted us to this land we love so dearly. Let us not forget who heals our land.