Harvest

Harvest is wrapping up on the Idaho home front. My cousin sent a report a while back that one of our fields registered a record-breaking 133 bushels per acre.

I got that report during a particularly rough week in Bangkok during which I was struggling to hang on to hope of a fruitful harvest with a few cases here.  A series of drug relapses were causing downward spirals among a few students.  These added to several health crises and a myriad of other issues in our community, not to mention a few more heartbreaking nights of outreach where we realize just how much it’s going to take to break these cycles of broken rural families sending broken women to work in broken bar districts frequented by broken foreign men… Taken together, it tipped the scale enough to trigger questions and emotions that I didn’t particularly want to face.

I sat reading this bright email from home, 8000 miles away, and feeling much further even than that from a bountiful harvest.

And then I remembered.

I was around eight years old. We had a bumper crop in the fields; just waiting for another week of sun to ripen it and ready it for harvest.  We came home from church, shared our Sunday family dinner, and sat on the porch to watch a storm roll in.  But this one wasn’t an ordinary storm.  It carried enough hailstones to destroy that bumper crop in a matter of minutes.

I wasn’t very old, but I knew enough to know the consequences of those hailstones.  Completely out of our control.  Completely devastating.  But oddly, I don’t remember the devastation as much as I remember the reaction of my dad.

We watched in silence as the storm came and went.  He calmly got up, smiled, and said “There’s always next year.”

Dad illustrated a lesson for me that year that I’ve revisited many times since: We have the responsibility to plant and tend, but ultimately we’re asked to hold loosely to the work of OUR hands and instead trust in the work of GOD’s.

Put differently, harvest doesn’t always look the way we’d like it to look.  It doesn’t always fit into nice spreadsheets or “win” columns.  For me, that year of a destroyed crop provided more fruit than a bumper crop would have. It gave me a picture of faith, and of faithfulness.

It’s a picture that reminds me that success doesn’t always mean seeing the fruit of our labor in the near term.  Success means faithfulness over the long term.  It means faithfulness to the calling you’ve received, and more importantly, to the One who called.

“…if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday…”  — Isaiah 58:10


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  • Comments (4)
  1. The photo and the lesson are amazing. I want to be like your Dad. I can imagine the frustration and feeling of disappointment and helplessness…hard to imagine how he got to the point of smiling. You’re in our prayers, Cori. Keep it up!

    • chris harris
    • October 11th, 2011

    wow! what an awesome testimony to God’s faithfulness. that story about your dad is exactly what I needed to hear this morning.

    keep up the great work 🙂 you rock my socks off cori wittman!!

    • Russell
    • October 14th, 2011

    I’ve been struggling a little lately and wondering what kind of a harvest will come from the crop I’ve been cultivating (figuratively speaking here in this urban field where I work) – so much so that I’m just now getting around to reading this. Thank you very much for the perspective! Keep on plowing! 🙂

    • andrea
    • October 18th, 2011

    Your post brought tears to my eyes – you are terrific writer Cori. Thank you for your honesty and for the reminder to be faithful to the one true creator who is victorious over all – in this present world and the supernatural one.

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