There’s a reason so many people find God on farms.
Farms represent wilderness. A place of wandering and want, struggle and despair.
Anyone who’s ever endeavored to live on one, or has known anyone who has, would wholeheartedly agree.
Just keeping things real.
Farms are work. And hurt. And not just in the ways you might think. Sure, there is the physical labor that goes without saying, but it is the emotional expense that ends up being the much bigger deal.
Because where there is dedication to prosper things that live and grow, there is adversity. Something I was unaware of at the beginning of all of this. And this push back seems to be in greater measure here than can be found elsewhere.
Like I said, it often seems this is accurate.
The reasons are for another day but suffice it to say, rooted in truth. And history.
And so, on a farm there must also exist a greater awareness. Of the frailty of life and the fragility of humanity. Of worldly limits and a God who is limitless, and there is no choice but to live this way.
Here. On this farm.
It’s in those often hostile and turbulent places, blistering and bitter and wind-swept, that the fight for life comes to terms with the fight to restrain it. While the world at large may be celebrating infinite wisdom and unbounded strength, lauding the merits of the individual, the potency of belief in self, a farm declares reality.
There are some things we can’t control.
There are some things we can’t do a thing about.
The farmer comes terms with this.
And so, on the farm, also known as the proverbial wilderness journey, one learns the reality of limits.
Be honest. We’ve each overestimated our own abilities on occasion.
We’ve each bought the limits lie.
We’ve felt more was up to us than was humanly possible. That we could do more than was humanly possible.
But at our human limits, we find immortal God’s limitlessness.
Ask anyone whose wilderness journey has had them trek through emergency rooms and hospital beds, through violent streets and places of want. Through war. We are oh, so frail.
And here, in this desert of extremes, where the precariousness of existence for each living thing is held in the balance, I have come to terms with limits.
This farm has been my best learning place.
When the snow is falling and the thermometer reads -6 degrees and falling like it is today, and I am fretting over the creatures outside, I am reminding myself of this truth.
When the heaters in the water troughs aren’t working and the animals aren’t eating, and I am praying an end to suffering, and not just on this property.
When I am filling up water buckets at the sink in my kitchen and carrying them out across the snow to the chicken coop and I am asking God to make feathers warmer, somehow. And when I am at the pump in the yard filling icy buckets for goats and cats and pleading with them to drink, fast before the water freezes solid again, and I am asking God to make hides thicker, somehow.
When I’m stuffing the huts full of straw and filling the stalls with hay, even as my husband makes a slow trip into town on one plowed lane for a heater so he may start his tractor for hay, I am thinking for the millionth time of this truth. How I am counting on God to make all things good, somehow.
Epecially as I find the animals that can’t come inside our home shivering, and one goat already gone. That’s when there is nothing to do but rely on a God who can care for it all. Everything beyond our land too. Beyond my understanding of somehow.
I am limited. So limited.
Until I pray. To a God who is limitless.
I can’t make everything okay. My God is the only one who can. Somehow.
So, as I have on so many other occasions, through all sorts of weather and challenges, across each stem and stalk and under each hide and hoof, I know I’ll see him show up again.
And even when I don’t, I will know he has been here.
I have all of those other times to remember his ceaseless devotion to me, all those other times he didn’t ask me to trust him blindly, the years of boundless devotion in response to the confines of my humanness.
Where my limits are, God’s limitlessness can take over for me.