Wednesday, June 2, 2010

WFW: Surviving the Dust

Black Sunday in the Midwestern United States, April 14, 1935

A farmer's son in Cimarron County, Oklahoma, standing in the midst of dust. 
(Arthur Rothstein, photographer, 1936, Library of Congress)


Elkhart, Kansas, May 1937 (Library of Congress)


Eph 6:13 (KJV) "Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, 
that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand."


Back in the 1930's, in the Midwestern part of the United States, in the midst of terrible economic times, came drought -- a drought so extreme that the harvest and fruit of America's bread basket literally turned to dust. Dust storms of awesome magnitude began sweeping across that part of the country, and even between the storms, dust ruled the land. Cars were buried in it; livestock died from breathing it. Farming families, already entrenched in poverty, began starving in the midst of it.

Thus began one of the greatest and most desperate migrations the United States had ever seen. Families in dire poverty piled scant household belongings high on the backs of rickety vehicles and headed West to escape the clouds of dust, desolation, and hopelessness that ruled the land. After all, who could stand against such a "storm"?

Bear grew up on stories passed down in her family about those days; but it didn't really sink in until recently, that there were people who actually chose to remain in the Midwest throughout those years of desolation.

Recorded history has so vividly painted the picture of those forced to leave. There are photos of dust turning daylight into darkness as it rolled in over the towns; photos of cars buried in it; photos of dead, dust-covered cattle; photos of skeletal women and children coated with grime, hugging each other in tears; photos of graves of people who died along the highways while trying to make it out...

But photos highlighting the lives of those who stayed behind are more rare. There's not much talk of those who stood -- of those who hung sheets over their windows; stuck rags in cracks in their houses' walls and at the foot of doors; sheltered their remaining livestock as best they could; those who clenched grit-filled teeth and kept slogging on through it, actually managing to survive. They didn't sell their precious land or compromise their inheritance, but held on to it tightly, even though with swollen, grime-coated fingers.

Instead of retreating out of the dust, they walked through it; and, when it came to the point that they could walk no longer, they simply "stood".

Bear has noticed a recurring pattern in her own life. It seems that, whenever she pursues a certain direction/goal, billows of "dust" begin to roll in (in the form of all sorts of hassles, setbacks, and problems) even though she knows the direction/goal is a good one and feels it's of the Lord. In the past, she has been repetitively diverted, always choosing to migrate out of the path of the "storm"; always driven back. Lately though, she has found her mind often returning to more recent stories about those "dust bowl" days, relayed to her by one of her elderly friends -- stories about what it was like to live in the Midwest and to be part of a family that actually chose to stay put, in the midst of the drought and darkness of those times. Stories of an eventual hard-won victory... Because that family "stood", their children got the chance to grow up on land soon filled again with "amber waves of grain" and fat livestock.

Bear's thinking it's time for her to stand also, despite those billows of dust rolling in on her own horizon, and threats of daylight fading into darkness.

Because there are times when the Lord calls us to continue on, despite all the dust that might be brought against us... Times when He calls us to do what is so unnatural for us... instead of being driven back by it all, to simply stand; and more, to walk on through, until we reach the sunlight that we know, by faith, shines beyond.

Internet Cafe Devotions will be hosting Word Filled Wednesday this week with the direct link to the list of entries/links HERE. So be sure and drop over there as well, to find links to the whole selection of entries by Christian writers, and/or to add a link of your own and join in the fun! We all welcome comments and discussion!
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14 comments:

Karen said...

Amen...love your analogy...

Walking towards the sunshine....

Kaye Swain - SandwichINK said...

WOW! What wonderful timing for these words and verses of encouragement! Thank you. Definitely very thought provoking in so many ways.

Susan said...

What an incredible word!!!!!!!! Thanks so much for sharing this...

Denise said...

This was really great.

AllyJo said...

Thank you for sharing this powerful message with us. My grandpa and grandma were both in Oklahoma during the dust bowl and depression.

Missie said...

Awesome WFW!

Amydeanne said...

happy WFW!

GlowinGirl said...

Because He can see through any storm . . .

I'll be thinking on this today. Thank you.

Joan said...

Bear I love your writing. I've heard stories of the dust bowl passed down from my own family. I'm so thankful that we serve a God that will be with us through any storm.

Blessings,
Joan

Laurie said...

How comforting it is to trust that God walks with us through the storms of our lives. I love what you shared in your last paragraph: "to walk on through, until we reach the sunlight that we know, by faith, shines beyond." Step by step...
Blessings,
Laurie

Lisa said...

Powerful verse and images!

daylily777 said...

This is a most amazing WFW ! Yes, sometimes we are called to stand , & we must have His Armour to do so ! Powerful Images !Great story !
Blessings,
~Myrna

Sherry @ Lamp Unto My Feet said...

Wow! I cannot even imagine living in the Dust Bowl era. Those are amazing images! Praise God that He does help us through those times!

Cathy said...

Thanks for sharing those thoughts and pictures. That is a wonderful, encouraging verse. Thanks for your sweet visit. Blessings ~

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