Editor’s Note: Brock Ideus is an Illinois Farmer Today 2019 CropWatcher who operates a corn and soybean farm with his father, Royce, in Flatville in Champaign County. The sixth-generation Eastern Illinois farmer has harvested his 11th crop and shares his views on faith and farming in a trying year.
FLATVILLE, Ill. — I’m sure a majority of U.S. farmers can agree 2019 has been one of the most frustrating and trying years, and this was the narrative on our farm as well.
I have farmed on a corn-soybean farm with my father in Flatville, Illinois, for the last 11 years. For those who work with farmers in any capacity, you have gotten to witness and ride along on the roller coaster that this growing season has brought this year. This year’s challenges on the farm have included a late and wet spring, which lead to late planting dates and then was followed up by a terrible regional drought in July and August, which was reflected in a good portion of our crop.
As if the growing season hasn’t been enough to handle already, the trade war and market woes have been the cherry on top of 2019.
In any given year with any given circumstances, it is wise to spend time in reflection. While this has been a year of certain personal and family health issues along with farming challenges, we have had time to reflect on all of the prayers that have been answered this year.
There has been a specific theme that has been revealed to me through my time in God’s Word this year, and it’s that as Christians, we are called to not let circumstances determine or affect our faith.
I was personally challenged this spring by a friend to do a study on the word “diligent,” which lead to more understanding of the words “steadfast” and “unwavering.” What a great challenge this was, because I had failed so greatly at it. Too often, we get so inward-focused, thinking (myself especially) that our problems matter more than they actually do.
I remember hearing a David Platt sermon a few years ago, and he pointed out that in times of focusing on our own issues, a world all around us full of lost and broken people who need Jesus is forgotten about. Because of this, I get to be reminded of how blessed I am to have been born right where I am. I also get to be reminded of my ancestors, family and those that have gone before me and built our farm and community to be what it is today.
So this year, I choose not to dwell in the minor inconveniences of the day, such as losing a signal on my autosteer or cell phone. But I rejoice in the multiple answered prayers from this year, which include my sister moving home, and having more really great people come help with harvest when we are typically short staffed.
I hope in this season of Thanksgiving this year we are all reminded of how blessed we are to get to do what we do, and that we don’t let our circumstances dictate our faith.