The Faith of a Farmer

“Over an inch-wide and ten-inches deep Lord. Yes Father, I know it goes deeper, but the tang on my tape measure gets hung up. Father God, I don’t know why You’re keeping the rain away, but I love You and praise Your name. Can’t You see Your way to give us just a little?” The tired old farmer sheds a tear as he’s walking across the parched land; what little grass is left is withered and crunches under his heavy feet. Each step sends a stake into his heart; Show me where I’ve failed You Lord for You to withhold Your blessing upon me. He knows the words of Matthew 5:45. This day, the old farmer just can’t seem to reconcile them in his weary mind.

Your faith is revealed in the fiery battles of life. #BattleOfFaith #StandStrong #CrossDubya Click To Tweet

Many of you have been praying along with my family for relief from the extreme drought (that’s what the weather folks call it) striking our little piece of “God’s country”. Know please how grateful we are for the emails, messages on anti-social media, and calls. I’ve been recalling this week how the Cross-Dubya looked when we first purchased it in 2013. The land was dry and filled with weeds. The weeds were covered in grasshoppers and even they were hungry.

When I look today (photo above), I can’t help but recall this same view from a year ago (photo below). While the view is different, my faith is the same. I believe God will see me through this in the same way He has carried me throughout my life.

I remember sitting in what is now the north pasture and asking God to send me strength, knowledge, and wisdom to restore this dried up piece of land to its original beauty. Knowing that I could not succeed without His blessings and guidance, that’s how the Cross-Dubya ranch got its name. It was during that prayer I committed this ranch to God, promising that we would put Him first in everything we did here. I pray we are continuing to honor that commitment today.

Some of y’all reading this may not understand what a farmer or rancher sees when they look across their land. For me, I see God’s hand in all of it. These days, I’m reminding myself that like the sun on a cloudy day, God is still here, and He is still in control. Many of my friends and neighbors have larger farms with hundreds of acres planted in cotton. Others live on northeast Texas’ famous blackland, where the cracks in the ground are much larger than mine. We’re seeing water lines break underground as the ground moves as it dries out. Many more have already started selling off their herds because they know the cost to feed and water them is eroding their already razor-thin profits. It’s difficult to continue doing what you love so much when your family suffers because you’re losing money month after month.

Real farmers and ranchers don’t do this because it’s profitable. We do it because taking care of God’s creations (land and animals) bring us closer to Him. #FaithOfAFarmer #CrossDubya Click To Tweet

When I read in the Bible of Adam’s tasks, it is clear how God made man to steward His creation, to care for it. I’m certain that farming and ranching, when done right, honors that calling. God’s word also tells me that whatever trials my friends and I face, He remains on His throne and we can trust Him.

“And we know that all things work together for good
to those who love God, to those who are the called
according to His purpose.”
(Romans 8:28, NKJV)

Our job? We must stand firmly in our faith that whatever comes, God will help us through it. Until the day that He calls us home, however that happens, we must stand on His promises. To that end, I wanted to share a video of something I often use as a prelude to my prayer time when asking God to intercede for our Cross-Dubya. I pray it blesses you also.

Jimmy Dean – The Farmer and the Lord (Sweet Hour of Prayer) [Live] – YouTube

For my younger friends who may not be familiar with this icon of my youth, here’s a bit more modern version. Both share the longing of our hearts as we stand on our faith that God will deliver us through this trial.

The Farmer’s Prayer- with lyrics sung by Isla Grant – YouTube

God’s blessings,

 

66 thoughts on “The Faith of a Farmer

  1. J.D., this may sound silly, but I think of you each day as I walk with my hose and/watering buckets to water my plants – once in the morning and once in the evening. Our home is on 1/2 acre and our grass is toast. I cannot imagine what you and other farmers are experiencing. I’m praying, friend, for you – for God to be merciful and send the rain. I’m praying for Him to continue to provide you the strength you need to meet each day. I’m praying for your cattle to stay healthy and for the Lord to supply their needs with what they are given. May we stand firm and trust Him today and every day, for He is forever faithful even when we do not understand. Praying!

  2. I was unaware of this serious condition over Texas until you commented on my blog post about our very rainy July. Yes, I do wish I could send plenty of rain your way, but in the meantime, I’ll continue to pray. I remember when Gov Rick Perry called for a day of prayer and fasting for the drought in TX several years ago. Online I watched the great gathering of notables and regular folks who led in prayer for several hours. It was a great testimony to the faith of people in Texas. Perhaps if more people knew, they too would join in prayer to open the windows of Heaven.

    1. Yes ma’am. I was not here in 2011, the time of the last extreme drought, but am told this is shaping up to be as bad if not worse. Like then, we will recover, we will go on, and we will continue growing and raising cattle. It’s what we do ma’am. 🙂 Thank you so much for all your prayers, and I hope y’all dry up some real soon.

  3. J.D., your post brings tears to my eyes. I weep with you, pray with you, and trust with you.
    We’ve had lots of rain this summer and every time it starts I ask God to send some your way.
    It’s hard to understand why this is happening but it’s a good thing to keep praising Him and trusting Him. It’s all His anyway.
    I wanted to be encouraged this morning so I read aloud my favorite Psalm. It starts out, “The earth is the Lord’s…” (Psalm 24)
    I continue to agree with you in prayer, my friend.
    By the way, watching and listening to Jimmy Dean was a blessing and on target.

  4. Dear J.D.,
    I absolutely cried as I read this post. Your love for the Cross Dubya and even more, your love and trust in our loving heavenly Father is just so evident. You and Diane are so loved, not only by Him, but by so many of us. I hope you feel our ongoing prayers for your extreme drought situation to be relieved sooner-than-soon, and for our Lord Jesus Christ to receive all the glory and honor, through it all.

    1. Awww… thank you Ms. Gena. I’ve shed a few tears myself, asking God to bring relief. Yet, I recognize He controls the wind, sun, and rain, and if He wills the wind to feel like a blow dryer and the clouds to withhold the rain, then I trust His decisions to do so. Whatever He brings, our job is to obey His word in it.

  5. Thanks for sharing your faith in the rough times, the times when God’s hand seems distant…faith is knowing it’s still right there even when out of our sight. So glad you continue to encourage others in the midst of this season, J.D.

    1. I know you understand ma’am. I sometimes close my eyes and dream of what it must be like to have the Cape Fear running though my pastureland. Then again, that brings its own challenges too doesn’t it my friend. Thank you for your thoughts and prayers. Hey to JDubb.

  6. J.D., I pray that cloud as tiny as a fist is seen over the Cross W this very day. I groan as I read your words, not so much in angst, but rather to attract the Lord’s attention to your plight, perhaps as the rocks groan in worship.

    Thank you for your update. Much love and concern for you and Ms Diane.

  7. We recently got rain here in central PA. We’re not in a drought–but rain seems to go around our area.

    We don’t seem too far from reliving the Dust Bowl in some places.

    May we walk through these times–rainy or dry–with Him as our guide. God bless you, JD, your family, and your land.

    1. Thank you Ms. Nancy. Just yesterday, I was asking God why He has a bubble around Cooper. Storm clouds darkened the sky all around us, and “sheets of water” were falling less than 20 miles away. We got just about enough to wet the concrete carport (0.10 inches). All I could do was say “Thank You Lord for what You’ve given us; and thank You for dropping the temperature from 101 to 85.”

  8. Farmers deal with much more than we realize. Thank you for your dedication to the land and animals. Thank you for sharing your love for Christ. I’m praying God will send exactly what is needed.

  9. JD, your faith is an inspiration to all of us! I am standing in prayer with you that God will supply all you need according to his riches in glory, especially for Him to bring rain to all of the parched land in Texas!

  10. Joining with you in prayer for the Cross Dubya and all the other ranches and farms in your beloved state of Texas, J. D. May God send you all the rain you so desperately need before it’s too late.
    The video was beautiful . . . thank you for featuring it here.
    Blessings, my friend!

    1. Thank you Ms. Karen. Like you, I’ve been praying for God’s will through all this. Why some are extremely dry and others extremely wet, but take their toll. I know this happens cyclically, and we should always be prepared for weather events, but I can’t help but wonder what God is telling us through this increased frequency and intensity in natural events.

  11. I am so thankful for farmers like you who care so deeply about the animals and land under their stewardship. I think of you on days it rains here in Georgia and on days it does not.

    Continuing to pray.

  12. There was a wide ranging blend of thoughts and feelings that attended my reading of this piece, J.D. There was an unavoidable sense of sadness and shared grief for what you and other farmers and ranchers are going through and compassion for all involved–including the livestock. Added to that were feelings of regret for not knowing how bad things were and not directing my prayers more specifically. But on the other hand, Diane and I admire you for the faith you exhibit at such a trying time. Your exhibition of commitment and trust in such a trying time is refreshing. It’s such a positive contrast to the tendency of this egocentric culture whose first response to anything they find uncomfortable or disturbing is to look for someone or something to blame–even God. I loved the way you moved from what was happening around you to a reminder of why you (and other farmer/ranchers) do what you do. It reinforced Paul’s admonition that whatever we do, we should do it to the “glory of God” (I Cor. 10:31).

    Once again, my friend, you have touched our hearts by opening yours. Be assured that Diane and I will treat this burden as ours and gladly get under it with you. And one final thought–my favorite Bible expositor loves to remind me not to despair when the garden around me turns into a wilderness. Sometimes the answers we seek and the Word we are longing to hear are waiting in the wilderness we don’t want to enter.”

    1. Thank you Brother. It’s far from over, and the battle is hard sometimes, but it is the struggle that makes us stronger. Thank you so much for your prayers my friend. I’ll do my best to keep standing strong, because I realize I’m standing on the mountain of prayers being lifted up by dear friends like you and Ms. Diane.

  13. Your love and care for your animals and land and for the Lord and your desire to please and honor Him in all is clearly evident in everything you share. Please know I am ppraying for you and all the wonderful farmers and ranchers who are struggling with this lack of rain. I loved the original video – so moving. Wish I could send you some water my friend but I know the Lord is watching over you and I don’t know how or when he is sending rain, but I have to believe He is.

  14. Will be praying for rain in your area. Praying it will be soon. Thanks for the farmers pray with Jimmy Dean, it was beautiful.

    1. Thank you Ms. Joyce. I find myself longing for this every summer afternoon showers we would get in central Florida when I was younger. Of course, I don’t miss the humidity that came after them at all. 🙂 God’s blessings ma’am. Sent Ms. Jan a copy of “For the Love of Emma” by my pal, Mrs. Starr Ayers this week. Am sure she’ll be sharing it with you soon.

  15. Well, my friend, your message and the Jimmy Dean video brought tears to my eyes and aching in my heart. We’re suffering from drought, too, but not to the extent of yours. I wish I had words of comfort. We continue to pray. Thank you for your faithfulness, even in the hardest of times. You are an example for us all of obedience and trust.

    1. Oh how I wish I was able to get your hay baled and put up for you my friend. Am praying for rain soon to return your grasses to fullness of protein and vitality so the delay in harvest has little impact. Give Ms. “Peaches” an extra pat for me please.

  16. My heart and prayers go out to you, JD. I was unaware that Texas is still in desperate need of rain. My head has been buried in books and the sand here in Florida. I feel moved right now to pray in communion with the saints who have posted here:
    Father God, we stand at the door of your heart and knock, knock, knock for a merciful rainfall on the arid lands of Texas. You are a Good Father who gives good gifts. Please grant the gift of drenching rain on the parched land of the Cross Dubya. Keep my brother, JD, and his family firm and faithful as he waits with endurance for your blessed relief. With thanksgiving and praise in the name of Jesus, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, we come boldly before Your throne of grace with hope because Hope does not disappoint, and in time of need because You are Jehovah Jireh, our Provider. This hour LORD, please open the heavens and pour the down RAIN. Amen.

  17. J.D., thank you for the reminder to pray for that area of the country. I can’t help but feel this too is related to our rebellion against our Lord. May He have mercy on us and grant our nation and world repentance and faith.

    1. I too inquire of God as to remedial judgment. I recognize too that His word tells us that His blessings reach both the good and the bad, and we should also expect His correction to do the same. I will accept whatever comes because I know His good will come from it my friend. Thank you for all your encouragement.

  18. There are roots there, brother J.D., and I’m continuing in prayer for the rains to water them. Meanwhile, thank you for reminding us to have strong faith rooted deep in our dear Jesus.

    1. Thank you Ms. Diane. I know that things will return to normal again, but that normal may be different. I also realize that God doesn’t want us to always return to our default, we don’t grow in that way.

  19. May God bless and sustain the life of your precious cattle! This is a hard drought here in Texas, and I’m not many miles away from your ranch, so I’m living it too. Praying for water from heaven to quench our thirsty ground. (I’m in agreement with Debbie Wilson’s comment. Just as the Word warns, there will be floods, fires, and droughts in various places in the end times. Also, volcanoes are erupting. ) May our nation be swift to repent and seek the Lord’s mercy in these days. Amen.

    1. Amen Ms. Karen. I may not like seeing my animals suffer from heat stress, and I may not like paying for the water to cool and hydrate them, but I stand on God’s promises that He will care for us, so I will strive to endure to whatever end He has planned. God’s blessings my Texas friend, and stay safe and as cool as y’all can.

    1. Thank you Ms. Barbara. I’ve watched this video many times through the years, when times were difficult. It reminds me of just how much I have to be thankful for, even in the difficult times.

  20. We stand with you! And this message is transferrable to all–circumstances may be different but the truth is the same. Stand firm in faith that He will take us through it.

    1. Thank you Ms. Yvonne. I don’t know what the record is without rain in these parts, but I sure feel like we’re approaching it ma’am. Yet, I also know that God will provide for His children, so while the days are difficult, we still hope in His word ma’am.

  21. I will continue to pray for God to bring rain to you and all those struggling through the drought in your area! I know you will stand firm in your faith.

  22. J.D., sorry about the severe drought there. I’m sure it’s troublesome for your ranch. We have had the opposite where we live. Storms and torrential downpours with some neighboring counties and folks across the state line losing everything in flooding. Some even loved ones.

    I like how you said, “the view is different, but my fath is the same.” Yes! And our faith definitely grows during the battles we face.

    1. Absolutely Ms. Karen. I join you in praying for the great many in our area and other places (the flooding in eastern KY for example) that are facing challenges of their own. Praying God’s protection and provision in all cases. Let us keep our faith intact so we might show Him through the trial to those who need to see.

  23. My heart cracks with sadness and I pray the Lord will bring the relief of rain. I don’t know His plan but in whatever dry space we are in, your testimony strengthens us to stand firm in Him.

  24. I can’t possibly know the depth of difficulty you are facing on your ranch and other ranchers in your state, but I know how here in Alabama how burdened I feel for you. Every time it rains here, I ask the Lord to send it to you. Every time the sun bears down on my back, I ask the Lord to bring your cows relief. And every time the humidity makes me sweat from a short walk outside, I ask God to remember your plight. It is hard not to ask the question of why rain doesn’t come in Texas and floods in Kentucky. We cannot know these mysteries. But as you said, our faith must remain steadfast. God hears our prayers. And though it may feel unanswered, He cares. He does. He has to because His Living Word says He does and we believe it. Still praying until it comes.

    1. So appreciative Ms. Karen. We’re struggling a bit, but it’s in our struggles that we find the mettle we need to carry us through. Thank you for praying for that strength to endure my friend. God’s blessings.

  25. My heart hurts for you and your family. I join my faith together with yours and ask the Lord to send rain. Blessings my friend.

  26. Prayers with you, J.D., for rain and a break from drought. Also for protection for your cattle, that they will not suffer too much through this ordeal. Blessings my friend!

    1. Thank you Ms. Barb. I’m not sure when this drought and this heat will end, but I know that it will. Whatever the cost, we will endure it with faith my friend. Thank you so much for lending me some of yours through prayer and encouragement. I pray I can one day repay you for your kindness.

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