A Bold, Cold Step of Faith

2 Mar

LIFE ON THE FAMILY FARM UNDER AN OPEN HEAVEN

By:  Tom Heck

A Bold, Cold Step of Faith

                Sometimes in life we are called to take a big bold step of faith.  Such was the case for Joanne and myself in early 1991.  I was working as a hired man on my parents’ dairy farm then, but they had informed us months before already that they wanted us out.  I didn’t know it at the time, but they were turning the farm over to my older brother Paul.

So for a number of months, we had earnestly sought the Lord daily as to what He had for us.  Through much prayer, He made known to us that He had a farm for us.  We didn’t know where it was, but we did know He had one for us.  We knew if we were going to farm, we needed a line of farm machinery.  I owned absolutely none!

We prayed and felt led that I should start to attend farm auctions in the area to buy old used farm machinery to farm the farm the Lord had promised us.  We started to look at the farm newspapers for auction bills.  The first auction we came across was on Jan. 29, 1991 at Kellogg, MN.  It had a Farmall 806 diesel tractor on it.  I figured it would be a big enough tractor for us to start farming with.

Joanne and I looked at our checkbook; we had just over $5,000 in it.  That was all the money we had, except for a few dollars in our wallets.  We did not have $5,100 total.  Joanne looked at me and asked, “Would that tractor be a good deal for $5,000?”  “If the tractor is in good condition, it would be an excellent deal,” I replied.  So we got down on our knees and prayed to our Heavenly Father asking Him in faith that we could buy that 806 for $5,000.  The Bible says in Matt. 18:19, “That if two of you shall agree on earth as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father which is in heaven.”

Jan. 29th came and it was bitter cold.  20 degrees below zero with a 20 mile an hour wind out of the north.  My brother Paul and I went to the auction that day.  I was walking in pure faith that day.  I knew that if I had missed it with God, I would be going home empty-handed.  We got to the farm and headed for the line of tractors.  We walked down the line till we got to the 806.  Boy, were we disappointed.  It was in real rough shape as were the other tractors we had walked by before it.  I knew I didn’t want that tractor.

But then Paul saw a tractor just beyond it and said, “Hey, look at that one.”  We looked at it and were greatly impressed.  It was a Farmall 1206 diesel in excellent condition!  We were shocked because all the rest of the tractors were in such poor condition and this one stood out like a diamond!  What’s more, this one was not listed on the auction bill.

The auctioneer kept the auction moving at a real fast pace that day because of the bitter cold.  He knew if he didn’t he would lose a lot of the bidders.  They started all the tractors up; the 1206 ran as nice as it looked.  I decided to bid on it.  The auctioneer started down the row of tractors, he had a few interested bidders in the 806 and sold it for almost $6,000.  I was surprised that it went for that much.  Then he came to the 1206 and said the reason it wasn’t listed on the bill was because it was sitting in the corner of the shed and he had missed it.  I didn’t believe him and I think nobody else did either.  But, with that he opened up the bidding.

I started bidding right away and the price climbed fast.  Soon I had the bid at exactly $5,000 and the auctioneer kept asking for $5,050.  I held my breath.  I knew if somebody bid that then the next price would be $5,100 which I did not have.  I clearly remembered how Joanne and I had asked the Lord for an 806 tractor for $5,000 and now I was looking at a larger, much better tractor for that miraculous price.  I knew if we got it for that price it most certainly was the Lord answering our prayer.  Finally, after what seemed like an eternity the auctioneer said, “Sold.”  I had just bought my first tractor.

People in the crowd were shaking their heads in disbelief, trying to comprehend what had just happened.  Later on, when I talked to the farmer about the tractor, he also was dumb-founded over the 1206 selling for less than his 806.  He just couldn’t believe the price the 1206 sold for.  He went on to tell me, “That 1206 was my favorite tractor.  I let the hired help run all the other tractors here, but I wouldn’t let them touch that tractor.  I’m the only one that ran that tractor.  I had planned on keeping it, but at the last minute decided to sell it also, that’s why it wasn’t listed on the auction bill.”

Paul offered to start driving the tractor home while I went and wrote out a check paying for it.  I caught up to him when he was driving it over the bridge crossing the Mississippi River at Wabasha.  As soon as he got into WI he stopped and came back to the pickup.  After driving it just several miles he looked like he was almost froze up.  The tractor did not have a cab on it, so we had nothing protecting us from the cold and wind.  Paul asked me, “Do you want to take it up over the bluffs on the back roads and save several miles?”  I said, “Sure, if you will pick out the route with the pickup.”

Fortunately, I had dressed well.  I was wearing my insulated coveralls and the sheepskin coat that my Grandfather had given me several years earlier.  It was the one he had worn decades before when he would go into town with his team of horses in the winter time.  Now I was wearing it, as I headed my new “red horse” north across the bluffs.  Looking back, that was the coldest ride of my life!  But it was a wonderful ride, there is such excitement when one steps out in faith and sees God answer above and beyond what one asks for.  And that is what God did that day for us.

When we drove it into the yard, Joanne was looking out the window and was surprised at how big and beautiful the tractor looked.  When I told her the whole story, she just started praising the Lord with me.  God was faithful; He had answered our prayer and more.  The Bible is most certainly true when it says in Eph. 3:20, “He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think.”  It is wonderful to know that when we walk rightly with God, we can pray and fully expect Him to answer our prayers.  We are not alone in this world, we have a wonderful, loving Heavenly Father to guide us and to provide for us what we have need of.

 

 

Tom Heck, his wife Joanne, and their two children, Catherine and Joshua, own and operate a 35 cow, 159 acre dairy farm in northwestern WI.  Contact Tom at: lifeonthefamilyfarm@gmail.com  To view Tom’s past articles go to: tomheckfarm.com   Copyright © 2013 by Tom Heck.  All rights reserved.

 

Photo caption:  Tom by his 1206 tractor.               CIMG0252

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