When I was a child, I would lay in my bed on summer nights and listen to the comforting sound of the JD4430 going back and forth across the fields, baling hay. The tractor was my dad’s workhorse, she did it all. Some years she baled a lot, and some years she didn’t.
On the frosty fall evenings, I watched for her lights in the darkness, as she pulled home the loads from the field to be deposited into the waiting grain bins. It was the crop we hoped and prayed for.
And in the dead of winter, dad would put on the giant blade, and when the blizzards came, he would plow the road home, through the snow we prayed for.
This the life of the American Farmer. He or she work and contrive and plan and fly by the seats of their pants at times to “figure it out” and live another day.
As my almost 10 year old daughter has begun to mature into a young woman, we talk at length about how we all must “find the way” to navigate the ups and downs and easy and messy parts of this life. The past difficult weeks have left us with plenty of times to bring those talks to life.
The old green tractor is the illustration of our faith. It’s how we put our trust and prayers into action. It’s how we bring to life our hopes and goals and dreams, and it’s the companion through it all, just as the holy bible that sits on our night stand.
My daughter will learn how to take the wheel this year, in small ways that are big ways. As she has trusted Jesus as her Savior, she also will be handed ways to put her faith tractor to work in helping carry the responsibilities of her family farm into the future, and her world to a better place.
While the storms of winter have made this old girl and her people weary at times, I can’t think of a better way to raise up my little people around the Old John Deere on the prairies of Nebraska.