My Dad grew up on a small farm during the Great Depression. He witnessed the struggles his mother and father went through in order to provide for him. They were not only his parents, but caregivers for his grandparents who could no longer live alone during a time when it was customary for several generations in a family to share a home.
The family farm included several rich acres that yielded beans, corn, and luscious yellow apples every fall. Indoor plumbing was a luxury for towns people only, so bathing was accomplished in an old cast iron tub filled with hot water simmered on the old cookstove, and an outhouse met other necessary needs! Folks were strong, mentally and physically. Their survival depended on that.
Mother Nature seemed to wait until crops were planted and faithful prayers sent forward for a bountiful harvest to show her powers. Hail storms destroyed more than one crop, drought was a continual concern, and one summer’s day that had begun with mellow blue skies ended with a tornado twisting through open fields—headed right for my grandparents’ home.
The winds blew the shutters from their hinges, corn plants were leveled, and my Dad barely made it back into the house against the winds. The back-porch door tore away only a minute after he ran through it. As the tornado loomed, it suddenly changed course by turning east, narrowly missing the house.
There are times when knowing the forecast is imperative. Seeing around corners when possible shows wisdom. Living a life of service to God, giving up our own ways and working towards our sanctification (growth), will bring challenges from the enemy of our souls and even the world in which we live. Whenever a believer steps out in faith, determined to do the will of God, conditions around them will present one of those challenges to moving forward in faith. The writer of Ecclesiastes experienced this and wrote it as a warning:
He who watches the wind [waiting for all conditions to be perfect] will not sow [seed], and he who looks at the clouds will not reap [a harvest]. Ecclesiastes 11:4
If we focus on everything that can go wrong when we step out in obedience or look too long at everything we need to change in our life, we will never see an eternal harvest for our service to God. And fear will often keep us from stepping out at all.
With a new year upon us, now is a perfect time to reflect on our priorities. Is it time to step out in faith and participate in a new ministry? Are there steps of obedience in our own lives that we know we need to take? God promises to walk with us until each journey is complete. There may be difficulties in the forecast, but He will turn the winds at the right time and the journey will strengthen our faith and further our Christian growth.