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.

The Risk of Prayer

Mike from Tibbens Towing in Clearfield, PA, backs our camper into our campsite. (Aug. 12, 2019)

 

So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. –Jesus, as quoted in Luke 11:9–10 NIV

In his book, Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge, Mark Batterson tells about an African missionary whose church met beneath the shade of a tree near the village because they didn’t have a building in which to worship. The local witch doctor wasn’t too happy with that, so he cursed the tree and it withered.

When you preach Christ and His power, when you preach an awesome God who can do the impossible, when you preach the powerful presence of the indwelling Spirit, you better be ready to stand firm. Trials always come to test your faith, especially when you proclaim it.

In response, the missionary called for a public prayer meeting during which he laid hands on the tree and asked God to resurrect it.

In public. Where everyone could hear him.

“If God doesn’t answer his prayer,” Batterson wrote, “he would have dug an even deeper hole. That’s the risk of prayer, isn’t it?”

That made me think. How often do we say “safe” prayers, all in the realm of the possible? Do we have the courage to pray the impossible prayers? Or do we pray them, but give ourselves an out?

“Sometimes,” Batterson noted, “God calls us to ante up all the faith we have, and then let the chips fall where they may.”

When I read this devotional, appropriately titled “Shameless Audacity,” DH and I were in a real pickle. Two days earlier the transmission went in our pickup while towing the camper to the campground. Now, while we sat at the campground, the truck sat in the towing company’s lot, waiting for us to decide what to do with it.

Rebuilding the transmission would cost anywhere from $3,800 to $4,600. With taxes coming due in another month, the fuel oil tank needing replenished before winter, DH retired for nearly a year, and us living on a very limited income, where would the money come from? The extended warranty (that’s another story) expired in April.

It just so happened (translate: God-thing) a Christian couple were camped a few sites up from us. On one of his walks around the campground, DH stopped and talked to them. They, as well as everyone in the campground, knew of our predicament. After all, a tow truck had backed our camper in our site then left with our truck.

So they prayed with DH—that the truck would be fixed at no cost to us! Now that’s a bold prayer!

Bold prayers take bold faith. Shameless audacity.

Shameless means disregard for that others may say or think. Audacity is a willingness to take bold risks.

Faith calls us to believe nothing is impossible with God. “It’s the impossible prayers that honor God because they reveal our faith and allow God to reveal His glory,” Batterson noted.

I thought about the impossible scenarios in the Bible: the Red Sea parting and the Israelites walking across on dry ground. The walls of Jericho falling down flat without a hand touching them. Barren Sarah and 100-year-old Abraham having a baby. The virgin birth of Jesus. His miracles. His resurrection.

God specializes in the impossible!

If God can speak the universe into being, can He not take our impossible situations and turn them into HIM-possible ones?

I still don’t know where the money is going to come from to pay for the transmission. But I do know Jesus said to ask, seek, and knock. He promises that what we ask will be provided, what we seek we’ll find, and the door will open when we knock.

Oh, yes, the withered tree … “Not only did God break the curse and resurrect the tree,” Batterson wrote, “it became the only tree of its type to yield its fruit not once, but twice a year. A double crop! A double blessing!”

What impossible situation are you faced with today? What bold prayer do you need to pray?

Remember, sometimes you’ve got to ante up all the faith you have, pray with shameless audacity, and let the chips fall where they may.

Dear God, give me the holy boldness to pray the impossible prayers. Amen.

Read and reflect on Luke 11:5–9; 18:1–8; James 1:2–4.

© 2019 Michele Huey. All rights reserved.