The December wind howled down the chimney of our farmhouse. Even the windows seem to shudder as I sat staring into the blacken fireplace. The squealing of the hogs in the barn for lack of heat sent chills up my back. God will it never end my heart cried.
My mind traveled back thirty years to a happier time when as young city girl I married my farmer. I learned how to raise chicken and watched with wonder as baby pigs and calves came into the world. Planting a garden was as foreign to me as putting up jars and jars of canned goods. My education into this new world was exciting and mystifying.
Life was good. Life was hard. In a little over five years, four babies came the last one going from the womb back to heaven. Some years we enjoyed a bountiful harvest other years the drought stole the crops. Cattle prices and the hog market determined the year-end ledger's color - black or red.
God was with us even the night our home burned and we escaped with only the cloths we wore. We rebuild; God provided.
Now we were about to loose it all, our land, our home, everything. All we worked for, the toil and sweat of the years, was it for nothing? Everyday the newspapers listed more farm forecloses. The television showed a sheriff escorting a man and woman from their home. Someone setup rows of white crosses in the courtyard-represented farmers who lost their land.
Face down in the carpet I tried to pray but no words came, a still small voice filled my mine saying, "Trust me! Trust me!" Night after night tears filled my eyes as I opened my Bible. One by one, I claimed the promises of the Book. "For He Himself (God) has said, "I WILL NEVER DESERT YOU, NOR WILL I EVER FORSAKE YOU."(1)
Doubts came and promises canceled them out. Each night I laid hold of the promises, marking the date of each one in the margin of my Bible. The Word seemed to wrap the comfort of God's arms around my heart so I could sleep.
Our lenders shut off all our money. We had to give back to them all monies the farm generated from crops and livestock sales. They did not give us so much as one cent to buy bread or gas for the tractors. If they could prove that, we were not viable they could foreclose and take it all.
I cried out to the Lord and searched His Word. I read how he tested Abraham and provided a lamb so Abraham did not have to offer up his son Isaac. I underlined where it said, "Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, "On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided."(2)
We continued to farm my husband and son planted and harvested over a thousand acres of row crop. They kept the hog operation going paying two full time hired men. All this and not knowing where the next penny was coming from. God did provide.
On a file card, I typed the words of Isaiah 41:10, "'Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.'" I place the card upon my kitchen cupboard. Everyday as fear gripped my heart I stopped and read this awesome verse. Each line became a treasure. "Oh God," I cried, "it is too wonderful for me, but I claim it".
I fasted, I prayed, bills came due; God provided in ways we never dreamed possible. Fear would again wrap its evil tentacles around my heart as I surveyed the black hole that seemingly swallowed us. I read the antidote for fear is faith and I reread my verse repeatedly, "Do not fear, I am with you, Do not anxiously look about you".
And He said, "I am your God I. will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with my righteous right hand."
And He did.
1 Hebrews 13: 5
2 Genesis 22:14
All scripture from New American Standard Version
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