God is still God in seasons of destruction - 10 November 2020
By Benescke Janse van Rensburg
The past few weeks have been difficult for many Free State farmers. According to Agri SA, more than 100 000 ha of veld was lost due to the devastating fires – especially in the Boshof, Dealesville, Hertzogville and Hoopstad areas. However, one of the farmers, Janes Barnard, who farms with his father and brothers in the Hoopstad and Boshoff areas, can testify to the power of prayer in the midst of this devastation.
Janes: “Ten days ago, on Thursday afternoon, one of my brothers sent a message to our family group asking us to pray earnestly. They were tired and desperate. The strong wind blew and they could not get the fire under control. Although I helped to fight the fire at the beginning of the week, I had to fly out to Kenya. So sitting in another country, unable to help, really filled me with a feeling of hopelessness.
“All I could do was pray to God for a miracle in the Boshoff area and sent out messages to everyone I know asking them to do the same.
“Around midnight the situation became worse. My brothers were still in the field fighting fire, with my father alone on the farm to protect the house. I called Jakkie, a friend of mine in Hoopstad and asked him to please go and assist my father. Jakkie immediately got other farmers together and they went through to be with my father. Somewhere after midnight I must have fallen asleep. When I woke up at 5am, not knowing what to expect, I nervously picked up my phone.
“When I saw the pictures Jakkie sent me around 03:00 my heart sank. The red glow from the imminent fire in the dark was so close to our hunting lodge, it lit up the sky. The fire was on its way to our farm. But God intervened.
“A WhatsApp message from my father later that day explains what happened next: ‘Our Father answered our prayers at 03:00 this morning. A strong wind that blew all day suddenly calmed down and a few drops of rain fell. We stood and waited to fight the fire, but the fire only burned weaker and weaker and later died. Our Father God is great. . . There were many anxious moments, but He was with us. ”
Janes and his family can testify to the power of prayer. In Psalm 50:15 the Psalmist writes: “Then call on me when you are in trouble, and I will rescue you, and you will give me glory.” Also in James 5:16 we read, “The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.” And in Isaiah 43: 2 God says: “. . . When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”
Even though it may feel at times as if a raging fire is on its way to destroy our lives (in our finances, marriage, workplace), we can trust God to stop that too. Just as He controls nature; He is also in control of each of our lives. God bless.
Prayer: Father God, thank you that we can call on you in moments of desperation. Today I want to ask you to specifically intervene in (name your situation). Help me not to become fearful or doubtful, but to place my faith in you. I ask this in the Name of Jesus Christ. Amen