The Unforgettable Summer

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Alma J. Yates

"When father's turn fell on Sunday, he did all he could to avoid Sabbath irrigation [watering crops from streams, canals, or ditches]. Friday and Saturday he would watch at the irrigation ditch for any run-off water from the farmers up the line. He squeezed every available drop from the ditch, and by Sunday the farm was irrigated . . .

"Everything always seemed to work out. As I observed him through the years, his dedication and resolve were a testimony to me that the Lord blesses those who strive to keep his commandments.

"Then one year came a special trial of his faith. The scorching summer heat seemed to come early that year, portending a drought. The days passed slowly, the sun baked everything - the lawn, the garden, and the fields wilting under the burning rays. Of all the years to have a Sunday water turn! The farm needed water, water that had not come down the irrigation ditch as runoff on Friday and Saturday. . . .

"And so, before getting dressed for his Sunday meetings, father left the house, carrying his shovel over his shoulder. It must have been terribly disappointing for him . . .

"He reached the irrigation ditch and put the canvas dam in place, but before doing anything else, still bending over the ditch, he paused and contemplated. What was he to do? He pondered the Lord's injunction to keep the Sabbath holy. Did he really believe that, not merely with his lips but with his life?

"While he was deep in thought, he received a poignantly powerful communication, one he would never forget: 'Pull out your dam. Put up your shovel and tools. I will take care of things for you. It may not be early in the day, but I will take care of it. As for the summer, leave it to me, I will provide.'

"Father straightened up. There was no one around. He looked heavenward. The sky was clear and blue, no clouds in sight. A dry breeze was blowing, promising a stifling, suffocating day.

"With the broiling sun intense and the earth parched and powdery dry, father pulled out the canvas dam, left the ditch, and returned to the house. He had been told. He knew that. He didn't know how he would be taken care of, but he knew he had been promised. He dressed and went to his Sunday meetings, leaving his farm to the power he had trusted all his life . . .

"Coming down the hill, he lifted his eyes to the sky and saw clouds beginning to gather. Within an hour the rain was coming down in torrents . . .

"That rain was a miracle, but it was only a beginning . . .

". . . Periodically throughout the summer, just when rain was needed most, clouds gathered, the rains came, and the crops were watered . . .

"By the end of the summer father had harvested three bumper crops of hay, a bounteous yield of barley, and a lush crop of silage corn. The windows of heaven had truly opened, and the Lord had indeed provided."