Do you remember the grasshopper stories?
In the American Midwest there were often times of severe hardship for many of the farmers and one of the recurring plagues was grasshoppers. They would sweep across whole counties and eat flourishing crops down to the ground. If you were host to a sky filled with millions of these little jumping herbivorous varmints you could be certain there wouldn’t be much crop to harvest this year. More than one farmer had his land foreclosed on by the bank because he’d been eaten out of house and home. By grasshoppers.
Unless … and this is where I remember the stories … unless you were a faithful follower of Jesus. Often – not always, but often – the grasshoppers (aka locust) would land a couple of fields over and begin eating their way toward the ranch of the Christian farmer. None of us had video cameras yet, but my Bible teacher, Mrs. Baker, could tell the stories so vividly I thought I could hear the jaws crunch.
Ah, but when the bugs came to the fence line of the Christian farmer; there they stopped. The farmer prayed, his wife prayed, their kids prayed, their aunts and uncles and cousins prayed. The church prayed. I don’t know if the grasshoppers turned around and went home or if they simply jumped that field and went on to the next one. But they almost never ate the Christian farmer’s crop. It was amazing. It helped make a believer out of me.
I hadn’t thought about those stories for a long time. Better farming practices, pest control, and other changes made them less frequent. Until last week in Montana.
Our friend Scott and his wife and kids live on a smallish 20 acre farm in western Montana. If you follow the news you know that some serious fires swept through that part of the Big-sky state. It’s early in the growing season so there wasn’t a lot of fuel for the fire … except Scott’s house and a few outbuildings. So they prayed. The flames came charging across the landscape directly toward Scott’s house.
What’s to do in that situation besides pray? So they did. “Lord, we believe You can stop this fire. We believe you can turn it away or snuff it out. We believe You could send rain or any other manner of fire control so these flames don’t destroy our home. You delivered Daniel from the lions and Jonah from the whale so we believe You can deliver us. Thank You for hearing our prayers. Amen.”
Now that you know the story, the picture at the top will make more sense. The flames came to the fence line – and went out. The fire burned around Scott’s property but never burned it.
I remember hearing stories like that; it’s almost like Scott had his very own grasshoppers.