What if I told you of a place on the edge of the Sahara, where water is scarce except for about 8 weeks a year. Where “dirt” is actually sand, the dryness in the air robs you of every drop of moisture in your body and the sun beats down hard during the day, with little breeze and shade. I want to tell you about the beautiful people here who, out of necessity for their well-being and livelihood, who spend their days tirelessly sowing, weeding, watching and protecting their crops so that maybe they can harvest, sell at the market and have enough to feed their families. It is the way of life here and it is back-breaking, emotional work. Because if they get bugs or someone sets fire or steals their crop, they have very little hope.
But let me tell you another story. This is one about how in those 8 weeks of rain, that precious lifeline in the liquid form sinks in deep, saturating, penetrating and seems to disappear as fast as it started. And yet, those millet seeds are silently drinking in the key to their growth. Days, weeks and months go by, endless dust and hot sun is discouraging and misleading. Because then, right before despair seems like it is going to choke out hope, the sprouts begin. With some simple tender loving care and protection, they grow and spread, gaining strength and providing hope of the sustenance they will provide for the next year. And the people sigh in relief.
God’s miracle crop. That’s what someone told me they call it here, because there really is no reason this cash crop should grow at all in these conditions. But it does. And it certainly is a miracle.
And yet, the oppressive heat isn’t just physical. There is a dryness here that is physically and spiritually tangible. People who have never felt the fresh, gentle rainfall of the Gospel. To the missionaries, we see miles of dry, cracked millet fields, filled with thorns and endless scorching sun. Seas of people desperate for answers. How will God’s word get out to them? To sink in and give life giving power? When we toil and give until we don’t have anything left, and we still don’t see any fruit..
And then. Then. We see a little sprout shoot up. A believer repenting of his wrong way of living. A woman who was convinced the Bible wasn’t for her and a few days later was inviting her friends over to listen to pre-recorded stories of Jesus’s redemption throughout scripture. A persecuted believer taking a stand by continuing to love her Savior and stand for those truths.
Indeed, God’s Miracle Crop.
“The Lord will indeed give what is good, and our land will yield its harvest.” - Psalm 85:12