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August 24, 2012

Testing of Our Faith

This summer has been a bit of a challenging one for us. Farming is never predictable and it's never for sure how much of a crop you'll get. But this year it wasn't just a matter of how much of a crop we would get, but if we would get a crop at all!

Things were looking really good in spring/early summer. We were able to sow all of our fields, we sprayed everything for disease and bugs, we had timely rains and then it was time to sit back and watch it grow.

We had just left for a camping trip that week and had enjoyed a couple of days together as a family when we got the news....it had hailed at home and a lot of our crops had been damaged. Not the kind of news you want to get when you are on holidays! But we figured there was nothing we could do to help the situation, so we decided to enjoy the rest of our time away, the best we could.

A few days later we headed home. The crops on the way home looked beautiful. The canola fields were yellow with blooms. It was hard to imagine that at home our crops didn't look quite so lovely. We drove in the yard, parked the camper and Mark went out to check the damage. A few minutes later he called me to report that things didn't look good at all. A couple of our fields looked really bad. And most of the others were damaged as well.

TRUST....FAITH. These were the things that were going through our minds. We said it thousands of times....God is in control. He will take care of us. But when something like this happens it can either bring you to your knees or you can choose to shake your fist at God and say WHY??? We chose to fall to our knees....for us, this was the only option.

Even though seeing your fields combined, by the "big white combine" as we call it, is very discouraging, most farmers will still get a pretty good payout from insurance. But things are a little different for us. We started farming 19 years ago. After a few years of farming we felt that God was telling us to cancel our crop insurance and not to get hail insurance. We felt God was saying that by buying insurance we were not fully putting our trust in Him and having faith that He would provide our needs and that we were trying to protect ourselves from His hand. So the decision was made...no more hail insurance, no more crop insurance...and we have had none to this day.

With this decision has come opposition. Many have said that we are being irresponsible by not getting insurance. Others said we were just plain crazy!!!! But we knew (and still know today) that we would be irresponsible and crazy if we weren't obedient to do what God has asked us to do.

There have been years where we have gotten hail on one or two of our fields....and those years we didn't get much of a crop. A lesson in FAITH.... a lesson in TRUST.

One year stands out in our minds....the year that a couple of our fields got major hail. We thought for sure the crop would be horrible. And one of them was. But the amazing testimony was that one of our fields that got hit badly actually did very well...more than we ever thought it would. It was nothing short of a miracle! This was the year that we really saw first hand that God was truly in control. If He wanted us to have a crop, we would have a crop. And this experience solidified in our hearts the fact that God is good and we could trust Him and that He would take care of us.

This year things are turning out a little differently. All but 2 of our fields had pretty serious hail damage. And this is from at least 3 different hail storms. Some of our fields got hit all 3 times! Understand that our fields are spread out over about a six mile radius. It's not like they are all side by side. So every time a field would get hit again we would almost be in disbelief! Is this seriously happening???? But it didn't take us long to realize that yes indeed, it was happening, and it was happening to us!

I won't lie to you. We struggled within....fear, self-pity, and anxiety really wanted to take over. But God had not changed.....only our circumstances had. He was still faithful, He was still in control. He was still taking care of us.....just maybe not the way WE thought it should be! There's nothing like a good trial to make you cling to God like you never have before, to remember His promises and to make you grow spiritually.

We haven't combined all of our fields yet but what we have combined so far hasn't turned out too good. One of our fields was particularily poor and only gave us a quarter of what we would normally get. And the others were better, but still not great.

We still have a few crops to harvest and right now we have no idea what they will produce. As my hubby has been saying since the hail, "It'll be interesting!!!"

We are incredibly aware that our happiness and fulfillment does not come from possessions or stuff!!!! It comes in having a personal relationship with a personal God. And knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that God is faithful, that He will take care of us and that we CAN trust Him with everything! And that no matter how our fields turn out, God is still good!!! We will take what He chooses to give us with a thankful and content heart! WHAT A MIGHTY GOD WE SERVE!!!!!

“So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?. Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is it's own trouble. Matthew 6:28-33


The Munck Family said...

We continue to pray for you all! And along side of you we praise the Lord for He is in control.

We love each of you dearly, and the heart you have for our Lord! May His light continue to shine through you and the testimony you share of His sovereignty!

Much love!

Pastor T said...

Wow! Very well written.
Jas 1:3 Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience.

Faith must be tried to produce the virtue of patience.

Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: James 2:23

You may not harvesting a large crop but think of the harvest of spiritual virtue you will receive.
Faith in God= Righteousness
Trying of faith= Patience
Set up some spiritual bins, God is sending a harvest of Righteousness and Patience. That is worth far more and that crop will last for eternity :)
Love you Folks

The Pauls' Family said...

Laura, thank you so much for all of your prayers and support. Your friendship is precious beyond words!

The Pauls' Family said...

Pastor T, James 1:3 was on my mind and heart first thing this morning! Thank you for your words of wisdom and encouragement....they mean a lot!! And yes, eternal rewards are worth far more than anything we could attain on this earth!!! Righteousness and patience.....thank you Lord!

Anonymous said...

In addition to not taking crop insurance, I don't suppose you would be taking the family allowance benefits either, but rather trusting God to provide?

The Rowley Family said...

ps 46
Lauras mom recommended this chapter just before we left and were struggling with all things not going as we had planned. Also remember that Peter walked on the water in a storm. I am excited to hear of how His Glory will shine in this trying time.

We love you guys.

The Pauls' Family said...

Anonymous (sure wish you'd leave your name :) We do take the family allowance benefit.

The Pauls' Family said...

Jeremy and Laura, It's when things don't go as WE planned that we really dig deeper in our walk with God!! Glad to hear that you made it safely to Vietnam. Love you all too :)

Alana Wall said...

I just read this post today, and it was so encouraging to me. We have been struggling with trusting in God to provide what we need since we found out we are expecting again for April. Our house is tiny and I've often worried about what we would do. It took me a while but I have come to a place where I am content to raise two babies here unless the Lord says otherwise. This helped me see again how much God cares and provides for us! Thank you.