Day 16: Faith is not to fear for bad times - 22 June 2018

By Benescke Janse van Rensburg

Background: Any farmer will tell you that crops need to be in the ground by 15 December in order to prevent the winter cold from destroying it. However, in 2016, Pieter Keyter, a Free State farmer, had to take a step of faith – knowing that it could ruin him financially. Here is his testimony:

Pieter: "At the end of April 2016, I sat in my bakkie amidst the crops at around 03:30 in the morning.  My heart was beating fast and it felt as if I could hardly breathe. On the bakkie's thermometer it was already 0°C and I could see how ice crystals were forming between the maize. This frost could cost me my whole maize crop - which I planted in faith.

In November that previous year, I signed a contract for delivering maize. The price was good. However, it did not rain again. Twenty days later, on December 10, I tried to get out of the contract due to the lack of rain. Shocked, I discovered that it would cost me an astronomical amount of money. Adding to that, I would not have an income for a whole year and would still have to pay my workers. In my inner room, on my knees before God, I pleaded for an outcome. I really did not know what to do.

The only scripture that stood out for me, was Hebrews 6:7: "Parched ground soaks up the rain and then produces an abundance of carrots and corn, for it’s gardener gets God's Well Done!" Anyone who understands farming knows what risk you take when planting crops outside planting season.

Despite my friends' warnings, I started planting when the rain fell on January 12. By 5 February we finished planting maize and sunflowers.

Where I sat in the fields on April 29, 2016, tears flowed down my cheeks. All I could ask was: 'Father, did I hear You wrong? I was convinced that You guided me to plant maize. What will I do if I lose everything?" At 05:00 that morning I went home. About an hour or two later a friend of mine, totally unaware of my conversation with God in the maize that night, sent me a WhatsApp message with the words from Psalm 112: 7: “They will have no fear of bad news; their hearts are steadfast, trusting in the Lord." That morning I decided to put my faith in God and not allow fear to overwhelm me.

God did do a miracle. The frost that night only scrubbed some of the upper leaves but did not have any impact on the crop. In 50 years on the farm, 2016 was our best harvest ever, since demand was high and we were the only farmers with maize. Our income was about four times higher than usual. All glory to God! "

Pieter is right. A step of faith is usually challenging, but in times of fear and concern, we have to remind ourselves of the words in Psalm 112:7. Let's choose not to allow fear in our hearts, but instead trust the Lord. God bless.

Father God, thank you for guiding us amidst difficult seasons and that You honor our faith in You. Please help me to be obedient when You lead me in a direction that might cause me to trust You without knowing the outcome. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

  • See a photo of Pieter in his maize fields at www.benescke.co.za or the social media, Fbook page, Stories van hoop.
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