Faith Farming

Maxine greets Corinne.

Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them. –Mark 11:24 NKJV

Maxine was sick. Critically sick. The year-and-a-half–old Alpine goat had broken into the grain bin and helped herself to way too much for her stomach to digest.

Now, I thought goats could eat anything, and it wouldn’t harm them. Not so.

A goat, I learned, has four compartments in its stomach, the first of which is called the rumen. It is here that healthy bacteria begin to digest the food before passing it on. If the healthy bacteria are destroyed—by eating too much grain, for example—the goat can’t digest its food. The decaying food and unhealthy bacteria that linger in the rumen can quickly become toxic, leading to an agonizing death. This condition is called abomasal bloat. Approximately 75 percent of animals with aboomasal bloat die.

When Maxine’s owner, my friend Corinne, realized her precious goat was ill and why, she immediately called the vet.

“It took us hours to get as much IV fluids, injections, and antibiotics to keep her from toxicity, and pumping her stomach full of mineral oil, baking soda, and a laxative to help her dislodge the grain,” Corinne posted on her Facebook page.

She asked for prayer.

“I’ve been crying nonstop over my precious goat,” she said. “I can’t do anything more. I need God to intervene. She needs her rumen to work.”

The pressure from the stomach gas on Maxine’s heart and lungs caused her to groan with every breath.

“It’s excruciating for me, and exhausting for her,” Corinne said.

But still she persisted in prayer, singing praise and worship songs to Maxine every night and “speaking life over a goat that was dying.”

Through the following week, Maxine received treatment for pain, bloat, a damaged rumen, sepsis, and muscle breakdown. She was given a 10 percent chance of surviving.

But Maxine beat the odds.

“Maxine is loved. She is healing. She is a miracle,” Corinne posted on Facebook.

You see, Corinne takes God at His Word. Jesus said to ask, so she isn’t afraid to ask mountain-sized requests. He said to knock, so she knocks and keeps on knocking until the door opens (Matthew 7:7–8).

She takes to heart the words of the Son of God when He said, “Whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says.  Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them (Mark 11:23–24 NKJV).

“God is good,” Corinne said. “And even if it would turn differently today, I would know that He is still good. I’m just glad I can still hug her neck, squeeze her little lips, and touch foreheads with her.”

I wish I were more like Corinne. Too often I let doubt eat away at my faith.

I need to remember what Corinne said: “If my Father is able to hear our heart cries over a sick goat, He’s able to hear your cries over what your heart is speaking.”

The next time I wrestle with doubt, that enemy of faith, I’ll remember a dying goat that lived—all because her owner believed in the power of prayer.

Help me, Lord, to have the kind of faith that moves mountains. Destroy every seed of doubt in me. Amen.

Read and reflect on Matthew 7:7–11; Mark 11:22–24; James 1:6–8.

Maxine and Lucy

© 2020 Michele Huey. All rights reserved. Photos by Corinne States (c) 2020 Corinne States. Used with permission.

Sifting Season

Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers. – Luke 22:31­–32 NIV

When I first started baking—back in the dark ages of kitchen technology—almost every recipe that called for flour required that it be sifted. So when I furnished my first apartment, I bought a neat little avocado green sifter. And I used it, too.

Nowadays I don’t even own a sifter. Not because I don’t bake—well, I bake sometimes—flour just doesn’t need to be sifted anymore. It’s missing the lumps and the extra protein, a.k.a. bugs, that were once reasons for sifting. Plus the compacting that occurs when flour is handled and stored (in my case, for long periods of time) isn’t the problem it used to be.

Our modern flour caters to our hurry-up lifestyle. Anything that eliminates a step or two and shortens the process is the way to go.

But even with modern flour, sifting can still be beneficial. It separates and aerates the flour particles so they absorb better the liquids called for in the recipe. And sifting gives the flour a silky texture, fluffy and light.

Like flour, we, too, need to be sifted. Modern times have increased, rather than decreased, the need to separate the good stuff from the bad. Life’s rough handling leaves us with lumps of pain and confusion, and the bugs of an increasingly godless culture infect our minds, hearts, and spirits without us being aware of it or wanting it to. Overcrowded schedules press us down, leaving us helplessly wedged under the weight of too many commitments and too little time.

So every now and then we enter what I call the “sifting season”—a season of trouble, of heartache and pain, of problems with no answers and seemingly hopeless situations over which we have no control and which don’t make any sense to us.

Discouragement and doubt settle in for a long, unwelcome stay. We pray, but the ears of Heaven seem closed. We ask, but don’t receive. We seek, but can’t find. We knock, but the door remains shut tight.

Like the psalmist, we weep in despair, “Why have you forgotten me?” (Psalm 42:9).

But God has not forgotten us. He has allowed this season for a purpose: to sift us like flour, so that our lumps of stubbornness and selfishness are broken up, the bugs that have contaminated our very souls are removed, and we absorb better the truth and wisdom of God’s Word. It is during these times that the wheat is separated from the chaff as we learn what’s really important and what we can do without.

The sifting takes time, for the life of faith is not a hurry-up lifestyle. There are no shortcuts to holiness.

But, like all seasons, the sifting season will come to an end, and we’ll have the texture of a more mature Christian—silky, fluffy, light and free, and much better able to be used in the recipes of God.

Why are you downcast, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God. (Psalm 42:5).

Read and reflect on 1 Peter 1:3–9; Psalm 42

© 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.