I have been struggling to figure out what God has wanted me to share for this week’s column. I believe it is in part because I feel like I should say something about politics. So many people have gone a little off the deep end; so many are placing their hopes in politicians. That said, I am pretty convinced that these wonderful men and women are not the answer to our problems, only Jesus is. On top of that, personally, I just don’t see that as my role.
There is also the issue of our current status in the realm of health. What is next for COVID? Are we good or bad? Mask or no mask? Frankly on this, I don’t think I would offer much encouraging information aside from ticking somebody off. Seriously, I mess this up in my own congregation, where we are on the same page about Jesus. It doesn’t seem like a good idea for me to take a stab at it in our community paper.
I landed on telling you all a bit about my back story. Maybe there is something there that Jesus can use to bring us to our next step in this crazy walk that is 2020.
I grew up on a farm in Killarney, Manitoba, Canada. Yep, I am an immigrant who moved here in 2002 and became a citizen back in 2013. But back to the farm.
My dad, Robert Wiebe (Weeb) has done quite well as far as farming goes. He moves around 60,000 pigs a year. In fact he has built for himself quite a little nest egg through his farm but it wasn’t always that way. Today, my dad runs a pig operation and rents out the land, but there was a time where he had a small pig barn with roughly 400 pigs, farrow to finish, while working the land and growing crops. That is what he took over from my grandpa.
Truth of the matter, when it was grain and pork, us Wiebe’s were known as poor farmers in the area I grew up in. The Wiebe name was not associated with successful farming. When I was younger, my dad lost his first farm, and then almost lost his second farm. My grandpa before him almost lost his farm too, had it not been for a friend in the local bank who helped him and my dad swing a deal that saved it, at least for a while.
But what was different back then? What changed for our family farm? It’s pretty simple. Pork pays. Dad sold off most of his land and all of his grain farming equipment, and built a bigger barn and got more pigs. He also stopped breeding them. He would buy them at a young age, raise them till they were just big enough, and then ship them off to market. While he did this, the farm grew and grew. He built more barns, bought more pigs, and today, he is doing very well.
If you were to talk to my dad, he would tell you it hasn’t all been that easy. He remembers grain farming and how tough it was. Back in the 80s and 90s the practice of farming wasn’t what it is today. There were so many variables that went into whether you would make money off your crop or not. Would there be enough rain? Or too much rain? Would there be a storm that destroyed your crop? If you got the crop off the field, would the price of grain be high enough that you would not only be able to pay your bills, but to have enough money to live off of as well?
I have heard stories of how there were some years where they didn’t know from day to day as to whether they could keep the farm. It would seem to Dad, as he drove his grain truck into the local grain elevator —where they would buy the grain off of him and ship it by train to the various Canadian ports — that this could be it. This could be the truck load that didn’t provide enough money for him to feed his family. Yet today his fortunes have changed. Somewhere along the way, he had this realization that the way he thought about farming, perhaps needed to change. Perhaps there was a different way to think about it, a different way to do it, than he and his dad had been doing for all those years. So in 1996 he made the change and farming has never been the same.
The two main things I learned from my farm life that I want to share today: We all face adversity and have to find a way to work through it and we all have a point of view that sometimes, might need a realignment. Maybe the way I have always done it, isn’t the right way.
Life is always going to throw something at every single human being. We might have clear sailing for a while, but no matter what, something is coming our way. We can’t go around it, under it, or over it. Adversity will eventually catch up, and all we can do is go through it. If that is our reality, I want to prepare myself in the best way possible for facing it. A good start to realignment is simply accepting the reality that adversity is going to happen.
In Most of my columns I have written I love to share that Jesus saves and this is true for anyone that will come to Him. This message is so important! You are loved no matter what is going on out there. But today, I want to share this, His love atones for sin, but wisdom he allows for us to gain, avoids sin. Proverbs 16:6 says, “Through love and faithfulness sin is atoned for; through the fear of the Lord evil is avoided.”
What I hope to share from this and my little wandering into my family farm experience, is to encourage all of us not to get swept away into the wave and noise of the world right now. Jesus is the rock in the storm that no wave can crash over. There is wisdom in putting our footing on that rock. There is wisdom in looking at the world a little differently. There is wisdom in knowing things can and will be difficult but we all can adjust. Realign with the King of Kings and nothing in this world will destroy you.
That’s all I have for this one. See you out there!
Phil Wiebe is the lead pastor at Lakeview Church in Stansbury Park.