A Time for Growing Men

The nation was in the midst of the Great Depression and drought in 1930. I was fifteen. My mother and I lived alone on a small West Tennessee farm. We were attempting to scratch out a bare living from a worn-out farm with whatever abilities an ignorant boy, a widowed mother, and one mule and a plow could muster. That fall the rainfall had been so minute that the planter tracks could still be seen.

After a tiring, fruitless day, Mother sat by the coal oil lamp reading of God’s love for man. With all the impatience of a teenage boy, I halted her reading from the thumb-worn Bible with this question: “Mother, you tell me God loves us. He has a funny way of showing it! We have worked our fingers to the bone for the entire growing season, yet we will harvest little from these parched fields. We have done all man can do. All this soil needs is rain, which only God can send. If God loves us, why doesn’t He make it rain?”

With the patience which comes only from faith and years of trials, Mother paused, raised her head from the pages of her beloved Word of God, and replied, “Son, you are making a serious mistake. You are assuming that God is interested in growing cotton and corn. He isn’t! He can do that without you and me. God is interested in growing men. I dare say that, in future years, if God grants such to you, you will look back on 1930 as a terrible year for growing corn and cotton. But, if you learn the message God is teaching, you will recall this depression year as a great one for growing men!”

Mother was right. Want teaches what abundance can never know. Without a drought and a mother who understood it, I might never have known 2 Corinthians 12:9: “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”