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Sunday, July 05, 2009

The Result of Passionate Faith

The result of the drought was parched, sooty earth making planting conditions impossible. The South African farmers were losing profits and their land. Financial ruin was inevitable for those left, especially if crops were planted in another El Nino season. The farmers were paralyzed.

Angus Buchan was an angry farmer experiencing the devastation. He was a Scotsman who had recently come to Christianity, and his fiery nature began to feed his faith. Angus gave his anxieties to God, and God turned Angus’s passion into a love for South Africa, its people, and his fellow farmers. He began spreading a message of faith among the farmers.

“To heck with El Nino,” he said, “put your trust in God… Don’t be gripped by what El Nino can do to you, but be gripped by what God did for you through Jesus on the cross. God answers the prayers of His people, and that’s why we’re going to plant potatoes”

“Potatoes. In the middle of a drought. It’s impossible,” some said.

“Potatoes need too much water,” others said.

Though most thought he was crazy, Angus never wavered in his faith. He listened to God and planted his potatoes. The entire village came to the harvest. With a pitchfork, Angus loosened a potato mound. As the people watched, he plunged his arm into the dust. He pulled his arm out and looked down at the plump, flawless potato in his hand. Excitement washed over him, and the community celebrated with him, their faith likely strengthened by what they had witnessed.

What do we do when we are confronted with an issue that requires great faith? Do we dwell on the obstacles, or do we respond with the passion of Angus?

The Israelites were confronted with this issue in Joshua 6. God said to Joshua, “I have given Jericho into your hand.” The city was surrounded by towering walls and sealed to keep the Israelites out. A person with small faith might have fallen under the weight of this obstacle and turned away. Joshua demonstrated great faith and listened to God.

Joshua instructed the people to march once around the city in silence, following the armed men and the priests blowing trumpets and carrying the ark of the covenant. For six days, Joshua gave the same instruction. Do you think any of the Israelites thought Joshua was crazy? In their camps, were they discussing ways to get out of these daily marches? Were they saying, “This is never going to work?” Given their history of complaining, it is likely.

Finally, on the seventh day, Joshua’s instruction changed. They marched around the city, not once, but seven times. Then, at the blowing of the trumpets, the people shouted, and the wall fell. They had just witnessed the result of Joshua’s unrelenting faith. With the power of that realization sinking into them, they fought valiantly and overtook the city.

Unrealized faith makes us question, search, and wonder. Faith in action has the power to grow in the most infertile places and knock down walls that an earthquake couldn’t budge. It inspires others and pleases God, and faith like that – like Angus and Joshua – is rewarded.


  1. Melissa O in DC said...

    I needed to hear this. THANK YOU!