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By Bryon Swanson

I heard on the news this morning that Nebraska is in its third year of drought. Many farmers have to be wondering if the field prep and seeds they are planting are going to produce a crop.

My grandpa struggled to see the brighter side of things at times. It probably came from watching his father lose several farms in 1929 as the banks failed, or maybe from going to bed hungry while making sure his wife and children had what they needed during the Dust Bowl. The Great Depression changed everybody in some way.

My dad didn’t tell many stories about growing up, but this one would come out at times. It must have been in the early 1950s in a planting season much like this one.

Back then, it was year two or three of a similar drought. Grandpa heard a prediction of very little rain for the coming months which made him lash out, “Why should we go to the expense of even planting a crop? Let’s just save the money and see if we can survive until next year.”

Dad, fueled by the optimism of a young 20-something countered, “If we plant, there is a chance. Without seed going into the ground, we’re guaranteed to have no harvest.” He won the brief debate, and Dad’s spark of faith was what Grandpa needed.

Maybe you’re feeling worn down by life in this crazy culture and time. Maybe it’s hard to find faith for something God is asking you to do.

Joshua was stretched to his limits and obviously growing anxious, too. He had faithfully served the Lord with Moses for over 40 years. Now, he found it hard to go on without his mentor and friend leading the way. But Moses was dead and buried back there on the mountain overlooking the Promised Land.

It was the toughest time Joshua would probably ever know, and God cut right to the heart of what was needed:

This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the LORD your God is with you wherever you go (Joshua 1:9). These words belong to us today, too.

As we look around us, the darkness seems to be growing and winning everywhere. War instead of peace, inflation, bank failures, politicians instead of leaders, and Christians giving up on their faith. We are in the middle of a tough spiritual drought. Are we wondering what good it does to still plant the seeds?

Just like Joshua, the things we’ve been depending on have changed greatly, but we’re still expected to find a way to serve and be faithful because the “LORD your God” is with you and me wherever we go! We don’t need to be afraid or discouraged.

Jesus also gives us this comfort:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27).

We are each here for a reason, because this time and place have been entrusted to us.

Maybe we’re like Joshua and feeling a growing anxiousness while staring at the unknown ahead of us. Jesus is asking us to find a way to shine the light of the Gospel in this dry and dark place. This is our time to plant seeds so that there can be a harvest.

By the way, my grandpa did plant that year. It wasn’t a bumper crop, but it was definitely a harvest that proved God’s faithfulness.

Remember, our job in God’s Kingdom is to plant, weed, and water by faith. The harvest has always been up to the Lord! So keep planting seeds so your work in the fields can be blessed with a great return!

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