Religion

Faith Matters: Lessons I've learned in the pigpen

My husband and I live in Parrish on a small farm. We had a large, 700-pound pig that was ready to give birth for the first time.

It was an El Niño year, raining continuously, and Piggy Sue dug holes that filled up with water. The only dry land was her pig house. I feared that she would give birth in the water and all the piglets would drown.

My husband was in Miami, so several times a day, I went to the pigpen to remove the extra water. We had no pump, so I used a bucket, and a large, flat shovel to push water out.

The rain was relentless and the more I had to bail and shovel water, the muddier and angrier I became. It was so deep in spots that sometimes water came over the top of my boots, soaking my feet.

No raincoat could protect from pelting rain. I couldn't use an umbrella because I needed both hands to bail and shovel water.

Around the third week of this unceasing rain, I started to pray to God to stop it, to no avail. Finally one day I looked up at the sky and began to shout at heaven:

"Lord! Matthew 17:20 says 'If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.'

"Mark 4:39 says that You rebuked the wind and said to the sea, 'Hush, be still! And the wind died down and it became perfectly calm.'

"John 14:12 says 'He who believes in Me, the works that I do, he will do also; and greater works than these he will do because I go to the Father.'

"I am your daughter and I have the right to use Your Word. Right now I rebuke this wind, and Isay to this rain, 'Hush, be still! In the name of Jesus!'"

It continued to rain.

I complained: "God,why didn't the rain stop? Isn't Your word true? Tell me now, Lord. Because I'm angry, and wet, and I'm rapidly losing my faith, and my pig will lose her babies if this rain doesn't stop!"

And the Lord answered me with these words: "There are countries where if someone owned one pig, he would be considered rich."

That answer broke my heart. "You're right Lord. Forgive me."

I had been acting as if my pig's plight was the greatest problem in the world. Leaning on the shovel in the pouring rain, scenes flashed through my mind of people in countries so poor that children go to bed hungry every night, sleeping in hovels worse than my pig's house.

Countries where little girls as young as 8 are sold into prostitution to provide food for the rest of their families.

In that moment, standing in the middle of the pigpen, drenched and covered with mud, I started to cry.

"Forgive me Lord. I own much more than one pig. What can I do?"

The image of a little Latin girl appeared in my mind. That night I "happened" on a World Vision TV show, and called to become a child sponsor.

So my first "missionary effort," came about because I fought with God in my pigpen. He won of course, expanding my vision and my heart.

What happened to Piggy Sue? She gave birth to eight adorable babies and immediately the rain stopped for several weeks after that!

The Rev. Anne Barber, is pastor of My Father's House, 7215 U.S. 301 N., Ellenton. For more information, visit www.myfathershouseinc.com.

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