At the end of ďAn Angel at Sunday SchoolĒ, I added a little story about how the Land and the Man are one. A true story that happened to me about some pretty severe financial straits I found myself in at the time. Those were merely the problems of the moment since itís been a struggle against impossible odds since day one. Both before and after this occasion. Anyway Iíve been asked to expound on my feelings about these events. How I coped. Was I bitter? How did it affect my faith? Etc.....
Those are all very thought provoking questions and Iíll attempt to be as honest as I can. As we all know hindsight is 20/20. What I should have done was quit farming after the 1995 crop year. But thatís all Iíve ever done and all Iíve ever wanted to do so I didnít even consider it. [First mistake] These difficulties mentioned in the story were brought on by a combination of devastating events that would have been difficult to deal with had they appeared one at a time. A 5 year drought that I thought would never end. A farm bill that wiped out a lot of otherwise good producers, and the North American Free Trade Agreement, which basically took a large percentage of our market and gave it to third world countries encouraging them to compete with us. But this is supposed to be about faith and feelings and such so Iíll attempt to stay on that track.
It was indeed quite a roller coaster ride. When I got the phone call out of the blue from the construction Co. There was no doubt at all whatsoever that this was the answer. A shot straight from the throne if Iíd ever seen one. The burden lifted, all the cliches that apply could be used. Then when that feel through there was utter despair. I felt abandoned, confused, and truthfully I even had some pretty major doubts about the whole prayer thing. Why tease and torture me like this? I had never prayed to be given anything. I always wanted the opportunity to earn it and this seemed at the time to be a perfect fit. I didnít, and still donít understand why. I felt victimized. This was a cruel turn of events and yes, truthfully I was bitter and angry. And still have bouts with those feelings today. I felt used in some strange kind of way. Why did these teachings apply to everyone but me? Was it all a hoax? I doubted my salvation. I doubted the entire validity of salvation. I felt betrayed. Even in retrospect when I can see beyond all doubt that it was the right thing to do I still suffer with being human and thus the inevitable bitterness. But how do you avoid these feeling? My needs and desires are so simple. So basic. If I had been praying for a gun to rob a bank with I could have understood the denial.
I honestly wish that I had a happy ending to this. I wish I could say I was humbled and contrite. Submissive and obedient. But I plead the aforementioned human element. And quite possibly that is the entire problem right there. Maybe Iíve answered my own question. Maybe thereís something Iím hanging on to that is hindering me from reaching my goals or receiving the blessings he has in store for me. I admit it would be multiple choice which sin or short coming it is that needs to be addressed. But I do wish he would make it a little more obvious though. He never promised it would be easy nor are we guaranteed anything other than ever lasting life. I get so frustrated and feel so left out when a simple basic request is seemingly ignored. Iíll pray with no doubt in my mind for a rain during a dry spell. I donít think, I know God can do that. I pray to God because I am not yet aware of anyone or anything else that possessís the power to accomplish this goal. Then it makes up a cloud, southern for Thunderstorm, and comes within sight but rains on an irrigated field belonging to someone else. Why? Why? The unenlightened town folks will look at this and think, ďoh my, how infantileĒ but I have seen one rain in August make as much as 50,000 dollars difference in the bottom line. Is it some kind of cruel joke? Am I being punished for something? Am I saved? It would be so effortless for him to accomplish these things. But yet they seem to be so enthusiastically denied. I feel like everyone else can enjoy these natural and common, everyday blessings but I canít. I felt like beating my head against a wall. Pulling my hair out.
So in conclusion I donít know if Iíve enlightened or made the waters more murky. I was asked for my true feelings and there they are. Right or wrong I guess is a matter of interpretation. Again I wish I had a sweet, awe inspiring happy ending so maybe its still a work in progress. Then I look at folks with death in the family, terminal illness, or any endless array of potentially devastating events in their lives and realize how blessed I truly am. I really do but that doesnít lessen the fact of interest adding up seven days a week and a $25,000 dollar chemical bill. Another contributing factor to the rage I feel within is ignorance. Not necessarily that rampant and blatant ignorance associated with people in general, I want to address that, in depth, at a later date, but a lack of knowledge concerning the true state of agriculture today. I think I wrote somewhere else that the general public either lacks the mental capacity to grasp the information or they think weíre lying. One of the 2. Or a combination of the 2. Weíre receiving the same prices we got in the 1970's and in some cases less. True production has indeed risen but not drastically and it hasnít kept pace with astronomical production cost. Why is that so hard to understand. Forgive me. Thatís got nothing to do with the original request and Iíll draw it to a close with this. Yes I was bitter and felt abandoned and forsaken. It was humiliating and demeaning. Embarrassing beyond description. But Iím stronger for it. I can be more understanding of those who have had and then lost. Through no fault of their own. Itís kind of shown me that everyone has their cross to bear. Some are readily apparent while others are a little more subtle. Iíll also admit, somewhat shamefully, that its made me a little gun shy about praying. Iím reluctant to set myself up for a disappointment. Is that normal?
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