Faith Like Potatoes

My parents and I just watched the movie Faith Like Potatoes. It’s a very good film; it’s independant. It’s a true story.

The premis is that there is this Scotch farmer in South Africa, Angus Buchan, with his wife and children who just is angry, desperate, always works, and he just feels hopeless. His wife convinces him gto go to church and he decides to give his life, farm, family, all to God. His faith is so pure and so vibrant. When a fire gets out of control, he prays for rain and God provides it. When a local woman gets struck by lightning and dies, God uses him to bring her back to life.

So when there’s this drought in the land for months and all the scientists are saying it won’t rain all year, Buchan gathers all the farmers, their families, their workers, and anyone else in a stadium and they pray for the violence and murders in the land, and for rain.  Because of his faith that God will provide, he plants potatoes – a crop that needs an exceptional amount of water to prosper. When it’s time to harvest them, it hadn’t rained and all seemed hopeless. But God provided again and gave him a huge crop of huge potatoes.

—I really don’t mean to sound preachy. That’s the story. But it brings up a conflict for me.

I am a Christian, but I do know that there’s a lot of us who’s faith has fizzled out. It’s there, but we don’t feel on any similar degree as Angus Buchan. I know I’m not.

Here’s the paradox: When God’s performed such tangible miracles in your life as bringing a girl back to life and providing rain within minutes of you praying for it, how can you not have faith like potatoes? It seems like once those kinds of instances occur, you’re set. It seems like it would just be easy then. 

But, say I was in the same situation. I’m a farmer, in a land that’s dust from drought, and I trust God to help grow a crop of potatoes.  It doesn’t rain, and when I harvest them, I find nothing beneath the soil. This would give me no choice but to feel as if it were my fault. I didn’t have enough faith.

The bible verse that says if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can cast a mountain into the ocean. But I feel like that’s condemning me to never be able to have that faith. I feel like that’s God saying, “You can turn a mountain into a potato if you only have a little smidgen of faith. Try it. Are you able to turn that mountain into a potato? No? Has anyone? Have you ever? Then I guess you don’t have enough faith.”

This makes me feel like, even though God has the power, I have the control. If I have enough faith, God will do what I need him to. Massive, impossible miracles. If I do the right thing and believe enough, God will do what I need. So when that doesn’t happen, it feels like, “Sorry, Haley, you should have had more faith” or something.

This has been a paradox I haven’t ever been able to explain or understand. I haven’t been able to verbalize this confusion until this film, either. But here it is.

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2 thoughts on “Faith Like Potatoes

  1. Haley, I think the “control” is the issue. God does what He does because it bring Him glory. That’s at the root of it all. What gave the most glory to Him in the above story? Seeing the people starve or granting their request and He gets the praise and glory. In this life things are not always so cut and dry. Even the things that we think would give God the glory, He says no to at times. Why? We may never know down here.
    Today is Uncle Tim’s birthday. Think of Grandma and Grandpa. They had a son who could have died before the age of 2. Do you think their faith is what kept him alive until 22? I don’t think that was it. They knew that God probably would never heal Tim, but they cherished each day with him. Tim touched so many lives and even in his dying brought people to God. He had such an awesome love for the Lord and shared it. I know that Grandma and Grandpa don’t look back with regret and think they didn’t have enough faith. They thank the Lord those 22 years. I do as well. If he didn’t live that long, I may have never known him. Grandma and Grandpa also trust in the Lord’s Sovereignty. God has reasons for what He allows and because we aren’t God, we don’t understand His ways. “For your thoughts are higher than our thoughts and your ways higher than our ways.” If we could understand, we would be God.
    I believe God expects us to follow Him with all of our hearts. Pray for the things we need–knowing that He will provide for what is essential. “For my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in Christ Jesus.”
    He is Sovereign and I relinquish my “right” for being able to understand. I am the servant, He is my Master.
    You also stated” If I do the right thing and believe enough, God will do what I need.” It’s not about God bending to our desires and needs, but us conforming to what He desires and needs in us. ” And be not conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind that you may know what is that good and acceptable will of God.”
    Think of Elijah and Elisha and their lives. You also spoke of Buchan having to have faith because of all that he had seen and experienced. That brought to mind the Israelites. They experienced the many miracles that were done for them in the wilderness, but every time you turn around they were complaining and saying they wanted to go back to Egypt. Oh, how quickly we doubt and forget what the Lord has done for each of us.
    I know this is somewhat rambling. I hope it helped maybe a little.? Let me know what you think. I love you, Haley. I was thinking of you while listening to a song “There could never be a more beautiful you” by Johnny Diaz. If you get a chance listen to it. It’s great.

    • This post isn’t exaclty my thoughts. I worded things in that way (“If I do the right thing and believe enough, God will give me what I need”) to emphasize the conflict.

      And your very first sentence brings up another one: Right, okay, so I know God created us for his glory and the reason we’re in existance is to bring him glory and we’re supposed to bring him glory in all that we do. How is everyone okay with that? It makes it sound like God created us just for an ego boost. My mom suggested he created us for the same reason that people want children. But if he wanted a kid, why not just make another God-kid and actually be able to tangibly interact with us? Again, I’m exaggerating some. And I know we’ll “never be able to understand everything” and all that. But it just doesn’t really make sense to me.

      I’m not doubting God or my faith in him, but these couple topics just don’t seem to work out right.

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