We have a special treat today. This is an excerpt straight from the not-yet-available (in)courage Devotional Bible! We’re thrilled to share Ann Voskamp’s devotion based on Psalm 118 — just one of more than 300 devotions found in the (in)courage Devotional Bible. Want a deeper preview of this new resource? Sign up here for a FREE sampler, which includes two full books of the Bible (Esther and Romans), several devotions, reading plans, and more. Then read on for words from our friend, Ann!
Give Thanks for Storms by Ann Voskamp
We’re laughing like these crazy loons out in the middle of a field of corn. The Farmer’s got hold of the seat of his combine like he’s being shot to the moon. It’s harvest time, and a time of thanksgiving, and the corn keeps on coming.
“How in the world?” I can’t take my eyes off the combine’s yield monitor. Stunned wonder isn’t an understatement. We had a drought this year. The sky had locked up hard about the middle of June.
The Farmer had said, “I’ve never seen any crop look so desperate on this farm. If God doesn’t give rain by the weekend, there’s not going to be any corn this year.”
I’d felt in his words the surrender of one worn Farmer to the heat of the sun and a withering crop. Life is a furnace, and the faithful live by the testimony of Shadrach: “Even if he does not rescue us…” This world doesn’t have anything that can burn down the faith of a heart on fire for God.
Come November, the digital screen of the combine monitor, calculating the number of bushels per acre this field of corn yields, flashing out these little black numbers that are huge, makes no sense. The numbers are a bit stratospheric, and the grace is most amazing of all because it defies what makes sense?
“Get out of here!” I’m slack-jawed over the high monitor spikes and the Farmer looks like he is right out of here and straight over the moon. I slap at his chest like the flapping loon that I am and he grins giddily.
“I know, I know!” And all over again, he’s that laughing teenage boy that made me blush silly.
“Who would have ever have thought?” I can’t stop shaking my head.
“You know…” He leans over the combine steering wheel, glances past me, past me to the wagon filling with corn. “I don’t know what to think—so maybe I just thank?”
“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever.”
The corn’s running like flashes of glory into the wagon. What if we celebrated Thanksgiving the most because it’s the least commercialized? What if the grace of God was only rightly answered by the gratitude of men? What had Karl Barth said?
“Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth. Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo. Gratitude follows grace as thunder [follows] lightening.” (Karl Barth)
The corn’s streaming in and I can still see the lightning that came right after Sunday preaching way back in July. I remember the gusts of wind and the thickening black to the west. I remember the thunder that rumbled hope and how we stood on the front lawn and begged that rain to come.
And I remember how it went north. Twice. And how the Farmer had stood there, watching the rain come down only two miles away, and I’d whispered wild to him, “What if we get nothing? What if we lose the harvest?”
And he’d said it steady and certain, with the rain coming down right there two fields over and so far away, “When you know your Father’s loving—what can you fear losing?”
“Let those who fear the Lord say, ‘his steadfast love endures forever. Out of my distress I called on the Lord; the Lord answered me and set me free. The Lord is on my side; I will not fear.”
The rain kept falling to the north and he’d stood in this startling surrender. And then, just before supper—the sky had darkened with hope and the black had opened up to give us our prayers, the way that the black so often does. We had all danced on the lawn in that rain.
I turn to him now in the combine, “It was that storm.” Gratitude follows grace as thunder follows lightening. “The storm gave us this yield. The storm was grace.”
There’s no harvest without a storm.
Gratitude follows grace — as thunder follows lightening. And the storm is grace because whatever drives us to God, is a grace from God. It’s all grace.
God gives grace, and ours is to give thanks. This is God’s unconditional demand: That we live thankful.
The Farmer grabs my hand, pulls me to the seat behind the steering wheel, “Here, you feel the harvest.” And I keep my eyes on the rows, and my hands loose on the steering wheel, letting go, and I laugh embarrassed and nervous and the Farmer winks. “You’re doing great — it’s all great. He is.”
“This came from the Lord; it is wondrous in our sight.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
And I can feel it—there’s corn. And there’s us all here. And there’s sky and food and family and a God in heaven and a love we don’t deserve, and there’s grace that comes as storms, and the only answer to God’s unending grace is man’s unending gratitude. When you live in a covenant of grace, you can’t help but live out a covenant of gratitude. The Farmer leans into me and whispers it, “Thank you, Lord,” and I murmur it too.
The way Grace and Gratitude echo to each other through everything . . .
“You are my God, and I will give you thanks. You are my God; I will exalt you.
Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; his faithful love endures forever!”
- What storms in your life have later produced a harvest?
- When have you seen God’s hand of provision in circumstances that seemed impossible?
- What can you do to celebrate and remember the grace He has lavished upon you?
We can’t wait for the new (in)courage Devotional Bible to be in your hands on October 1st! But you don’t have to wait until then to peek inside — sign up below for that FREE sampler! You’ll receive two full books of the Bible (Esther and Romans), several devotions, reading plans, and more.
Click here to sign up for your FREE (in)courage Devotional Bible Sampler!
Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
Reading and re-reading this section: ” . . . the storm is grace because whatever drives us to God, is a grace from God. It’s all grace.”
I have felt and known the truth of this, but these words to wrap around the experience are this morning’s gift.
Blessings to you, Ann.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
So many lines stand out, but this one does especially to me: “When you know your Father’s loving—what can you fear losing?” There have been many trials I’ve had and things/people I’ve lost: Losing a father, my job, a marriage, a best friend to a heart attack, my pups. I’ve lost time to waiting for a diagnosis, going through treatment, rehabbing from surgeries, days in bed with a mental illness. Loss, indeed. But so true that the storms give grace. In the crucible of pain, that’s where God and His love met me. That’s where Jesus held me like the helpless lost lamb and cradled me close to his beating heart. That’s where I learned that when you “Know your Father’s loving – what can you fear losing?” His mercies over and over again give me confidence that He will handle, through me, whatever the future brings. Awesomely beautiful post, Ann. Dancing in the rain with you 🙂
Jessica Sommer says
Awesome!! Love Love Love reading your writing!
Beth Williams says
Loved this: “the storm is grace because whatever drives us to God, is a grace from God.” That statement is profound & true. The storms/trials of my life have driven me closer to God. My dad’s severe dementia & subsequent hospitalization was a huge storm & yet through that gale matured my faith in God. He allowed me to witness a miracle. In the months since that time i celebrated by enjoying my dad & doing things with him. We went on bus rides-activities done at the Assisted Living. I had a big testimony.
God’s hand of provision has always been around. I’ve never really been in want or need. Thanksgiving week my F-I-L started peeing blood. He was in & out of hospital 3-4. He was becoming weak. Finally his doctor diagnosed stage III bladder cancer. Most thought a death sentence. He had surgery in April. My faith told everyone God can heal him. Praise God he made it through surgery & in May celebrated his 90th birthday. He is now mowing his yard, & doing most of things he did before. His wife is elderly also. In those months I was able to obtain homemade baked spaghetti casseroles & other food to take over. God allowed me to supply them with food so no one had to cook.
I praise God daily for His provisions. Now my elderly neighbor has lost her youngest & last son to cancer. I got food together for her & her granddaughter. Granddaughter is leaving town for a while to get married. I plan on getting more food for her this weekend. Wanting her to have microwave meals. God never ceases to amaze me. He constantly provides what we need when we need it!
You are so thoughtful and a blessing to look out for your neighbor during such a difficult time.
Have a blessed day,
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I agree with Penny….you are a blessing to all those who know you!!
I grew up on a farm including corn and beans as our main livelihood. So identifying with this and the sentiments go deep into my heart, I understand!
Praise GOD from Whom All Blessings Flow!!! And praise GOD I still have a tract of land from my parents that I get to supervise, which is a thrill to my heart, so I still get in on the storms and the sowing and reaping. Our LORD often used farming as analogies for spiritual living. This was just great and brought tears to my eyes. Many very severe and turbulent storms for my grandchildren, and I pray the LORD will bring good from these storms, which seems impossible from my perspective. But nothing is impossible with HIM and HE is able…
Thank you so much, Ann!
“When you know your Father’s loving-what can you fear losing?”
God’s been faithful through every storm and trial, yet, I find myself scared and worried. This was the reminder my heart needed today… My Father is loving and caring, and the hard times are only here only for His grace to taste seeeter
This is so spot on today. I am going thru a storm right now, waiting on a pathology report to be available. Whatever the result I will be grateful.
I heard God whisper this morning “Who Shall I Send”. Thank you for reminding me this morning that God is with me always.
I was deeply grieved and concerned to see that (in)courage is affiliated with Ann Voskamp. Please consider the concerns shared on this link: https://livingintheshoe.com/one-thousand-gifts/
Melinda S says
Ann Voscamp is beloved by many, including myself. If you do not care for her, you dont have to read, but please dont discourage those of us who are blessed and touched by her words. This creates dissention and gossip. Different people speak to us all differently…that’s what makes us unique. If something Ann says draws me to the Savior in a profound way or causes me to dive deeper into scripture, who am I to criticize? I love her words, her books, her blog and her beautiful self…and so does the Father.
I live where some in their culture believe that kindness is weak, does that make it true? Please remember that while some have their heart in the right place some may not, I honestly believe that Ann does.
Have a blessed day,
Becky Keife says
Ann Voskamp was one of the original (in)courage contributors and has been a longtime friend of this community. We are honored to host her words here.
I am thankful that every person who has received Christ as their Savior has also received the gift of the Holy Spirit, who empowers us to discern truth and live out of the overflow of God’s grace. While everyone in God’s family will not see eye to eye on every issue, there is so much we can agree on — namely, loving God and loving others; (in)courage is a place where we seek to do just that, so that all of God’s daughters “may be encouraged in heart and united in love.” (Colossians 2:2) You are welcome here.
(in)courage Community Manager
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
Well said Becky….echoing your thought….
It is certainly important to do as the Bereans were commended for: check the Scriptures to see if what is being taught is truth. Appreciate your concerns and reminder that we must do this, especially at these end times when the Bible tells us there will be much false teaching.
Ann and in(courage),
After weathering many a storm this speaks to me exactly,”Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth.” So grateful for God’s grace that’s been received, otherwise it wouldn’t of been possible. So thankful for this and Ann, thank-you for sharing your beautifully strung together words.
Have a blessed day all,
Blessed by these beautiful words today…
God has blessed my young adult son with an awesome unexpected opportunity for a paid internship. Thank you to all who have prayed such elequent prayers for us. The email and conversations surrounding the offer oozed God’s blessing and favor. He works during the storms and those works can only be seen after the clouds part.
Christie Dennis says
Awesome, dear Ann! So thankful for you and this very encouraging word. And like the others, I LOVE, LOVE the quote: “When you know your Father’s loving—what can you fear losing?” Thank you and many blessings on you and yours!
Glenda Goerzen says
I subscribed to the free (in)courage Devotional Bible Sampler and I can’t find it. Please help!
Anna Rendell says
We can help with that! Send a quick note to me at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I’ll look for your email address in the back end of our system.
Kathy Cheek says
I think I remember reading this when you originally wrote it years ago and it moved me then and it moves me now, God’s beautiful grace in the storm, so amazing! I could feel the gratitude swelling in your heart as the story unfolds, and the awe of God’s work takes our breath away, doesn’t it?
This seems pretty scary, I just wrote a comment about truth and being like the Bereans. I saw it posted immediately and now it is gone! We can have no honest questions or differences voiced here or even a challenge? SCARY! Hope it was a mistake….
Anna Rendell says
Promise we didn’t delete your comment! Looks like it’s up above in another comment thread.
OK it is back now. Good!
I can’t get enough of your writing. I think I’m on the 3rd time through both books. I hope there’s another one coming. Your word pictures & language usuage are beautiful-and tie in with lesson upon lesson and thought upon thought – like a thought stream…the way a beautiful moment leads to chaos in the next & the transition struggle there. It’s all so real and so relatable. I am so blessed daily by the ideas & the heart surrender, the beauty, humility & raw. Your outpouring is such a gift. Much love, a goofy raw mama of 3 boys