Many times in our lives, we expect God to make life go smoothly for us when we follow His ways, and we are disappointed and disillusioned when the opposite happens.
Dan and Mary Vissani serve with Foundations for Farming in Zambia, teaching a Biblically-based approach to farming.
The nine young men and women who journeyed with us for the past year graduated in June. They were replaced by 10 young adults, chosen from about 50 applicants for their desire to learn new things, grow in the Lord, and put in the hard work required to be a successful farmer. We have already dived in deep with them, discussing topics such as the nature of God, the importance of measurements, and how to make compost.
In one particular lesson, Dan was relating the story of how Foundations for Farming came to be. In case you don’t know the full version, here’s the punchline: Brian, a farmer in Zimbabwe, faced with failing maize crops, kneeled down on the forest floor and asked God for help. God’s answer was to look at how He cared for his creation, and do likewise. But, there is an important backstory—the reason why Brian was on that maize farm in the first place. Years before, as a new Christian, Brian heard God calling him to stop growing tobacco and instead grow food. He was confident that, since this was from God, his new venture would be abundantly blessed. But it wasn’t; in fact, it was because of following God’s call that Brian’s farm was repossessed by the bank and his reputation as an award-winning tobacco farmer was left in tatters.
This is the part of the story where one of our new interns, Liberty, experienced some confusion. With refreshing honesty, Liberty asked how it was possible for Brian to experience such hardship after following God’s clear call in his life. That’s not what should happen, he explained—God was supposed to bless him! We don’t know how you feel about that question, but to us, it was very encouraging. Here is a young man, unafraid to speak up when his theology doesn’t match up with experience. Whether he knew it or not, Liberty hit the proverbial nail on the head. Many times in our lives, we expect God to make life go smoothly for us when we follow His ways, and we are disappointed and disillusioned when the opposite happens. In fact, the Bible is replete with Brian-like stories (Job and Jesus, for example), which challenge us to reconsider our motivation for worshipping God (do we really just want His gifts?) and even our definition of blessing itself! The truth is, Jesus calls his followers into His way of life, full of sacrifice, humiliation, and suffering. Jesus left His material needs and eventual exaltation in His Father’s hands, and so should we. Please pray with us as we present this Jesus and His call to these new interns!