What does a farmer do when his farm is seized?
My farm was taken! That phrase is almost as scary as the word ‘cancer’.
Tuesday, April 24th, while I was cutting feed for the animals, four fancy cars r
The leader, the land commissioner, began: ‘You know that the government has acquired all land and that you stay on this farm illegally.’
‘Oh,’ I replied.
‘Well,’ he continued. ‘We have a new owner that we would bring to you to meet.’
He asked if there is place where we could sit and talk, and after sitting down on my patio, the intimidation began.
‘We expect you to work with the new owner. We want the transition to run smoothly.’
A particularly large individual added, with deep hatred that radiates from his face: ‘If you do not cooperate, we will send our guys and you will leave without taking anything away with you – not even your clothes.’
Another man asked: ‘Do you know who I am?’
I said I did not.
He said: ‘I’m Mr. *** (I can not remember his name) and I can have people removed from their farms within two hours!’
He had two fingers in the air and forcefully repeated: ‘Two hours!’
I was fairly quiet until this point, but then quietly replied: ‘Mr. ***, I just want to say something I want you to hear.’
‘What is it?’ he asked gruffly.
While pointing my finger at him, I said softly, ‘I do not fear you. I only fear God. You and I will someday die and we will stand before God and account for what we have in this life. You will have to give account for your actions and I for my response to your words.’
It seemed like that rather distracted him.
With many more threats they left as fast as they came, with the promise to return that afternoon to introduce the new owner to me.
When they returned, there were fewer of them and only two cars, and I had time to come to my senses.
The man, his name is Philemon, asked how much time I needed to leave the farm and I said: ‘Six months would be ideal so I can get through the coming winter.’
He said it was too long and I asked how much time he would give me. He said: ‘Three months.’
I realised it was very favourable compared to typical time offered to other farmers so I decided to accept his offer. Within a few hours the deal was clinched and with that I have lost my sweet home and farm, with nowhere to go.
But by grace – the Lord has prepared me for this day. Over the past two years, the Lord has spoken to me about my attitude and over this time He has helped me to cleanse my heart. He has prepared me, especially over the last three months, in that I will lose my farm. I knew there was to be a test in my life, and that He expects me, his child, to react as He would.
As the vehicles came racing that Tuesday, I immediately knew the time has come. You see, nothing happens in this life that is a surprise to our heavenly Father. Our lives are safe in His hands, if we are His children. If we obey His voice and do what He says, there is no reason to fear what people can do to us, nor what the future will bring. And what does He say should we do if this kind of thing happen to us? Are we willing to apply His words in our lives?
Matthew 5:44 says, ‘But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you…’
Is Jesus’ command meant for us or not? Why do I see so many Christians with such deep racial hatred and bitterness in their lives? Should we not be children of our Heavenly Father that radiate His character? What witness are we when we respond with seething anger? In doing that, how are we better than the world?
When I saw Philemon the next day, he was very nervous and he sat at the edge of his chair. I told him, ‘Philemon, though I have nowhere to go and although in one day you have taken my life’s dream away from me, I will not be bitter or angry. I want to bless you when you take over the farm. I want to help you as far as I can. I want you to enjoy this place as much as I have enjoyed it.’
He reacted positively and he made even more amazing concessions.
‘You can take everything from the farm if you want, but if you are willing to leave anything, I will pay for it,’ he said.
We shook hands and parted as friends.
The Bible says, ‘For the wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.’ (James 1:20).
We must see the big picture and we should not hold on so tightly to the few possessions we have. Our Heavenly Father is more than capable to meet all our needs, and if we hold our earthly belongings in open hands, He can take or add to it as He pleases. Not even a sparrow falls without Him knowing it. Could He not provide a home for me and place to milk my cows? Of course he can! Why then would I allow my heart to be filled with hatred for a man for whom Jesus died as well? I’d rather see this man and his violent friends also find the kingdom of heaven. You will never win the war of racial hatred – with hatred. It can only be won with love and forgiveness. The strongest force in the world is humble love. Did He not say, ‘Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.’ (Matthew 5:5).
Do not underestimate the enormous power of simple humility – we say, ‘Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done.’ (Luke 22:42).
Of course what they were doing was illegal. I could have won the case if I went to court. But at what price? More hate, with intimidation and violence against my workers, and fear for my wife? No, a farm is not worth that much.
I will not try to retain a piece of land and at the same time put my precious wife at risk. She is worth far more than a farm.
We had nowhere to go. Jesus’ disciples asked Him where he stays. He replied, ‘The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.’ (Matthew 8:20)
I felt I was in good company!
But we had an absolute and divine peace and confidence that our Heavenly Father had
something much better planned for us, than we had had in the past. He closes one door only to open a much larger door again.
A couple of weeks later I heard that the land commissioner, a Mr Shoko, had had a light stroke, and I felt that God wanted me to pray for him. I went to Shoko’s office, where I was ushered into a room to see the commissioner, who was seated at a table with 12 other people. I told Shoko that I had heard about his illness, and asked if I could pray for him. After Shoko agreed, I placed my hands on him and asked God to heal his illness, after which Shoko said, ‘Thank you, Mr Jackson, and may God bless you.’
In the second week of June someone gave me a prophetic word about to the effect that the Lord would send someone who I do not know to tell me that the farm invasion has been nullified (my own words). Well on 25 June I had a most unusual experience. While I was driving through the top end of town, towing a trailer full of hay, a Mercedes hooted at me and then followed me, flashing its lights. I did not recognise the driver, but stopped. He stopped in front of me, got out, and walked toward me. ‘You need to get my telephone number and phone me – it’s about your farm.’ He explained that he was on his way to a meeting but I should contact him later. I took down his number, and off he drove. Later in the day I phoned him and we arranged a meeting place. When I got there he told me, ‘You don’t need to fear, your farm will not be taken.’ I asked who he was but could not get much out of him except that he worked in the president’s office. ‘I’ve been following you and watching you and I know that you’re not a political man,’ he said. He described accurately some of the events that had taken place on the day the 20 men came to claim my farm. ‘They have not been acting on the authority of the president, and are being disciplined for that. Mr XXX (the man who had said to me that he could remove people from a farm in two hours and to whom I had replied that I did not fear him) has been sent to prison,’ he said. Also the man who was supposed to occupy your farm has been put away. You are free to continue farming. ‘We want people like you on the farms,’ he said. With that our meeting was over. How wonderfully the Lord has turned things for us. Psalm 126 comes to mind. The Lord has done great things for us!! To Him be all the glory!!!
On 6 July 2012 I had a call from the lands commissioner (Shoko) this morning asking that I should go to see him. He quickly said, ‘Don’t worry, it’s positive!’ When I came into his office he looked happy and well. I asked about his health and he acknowledged that he had been healed, and thanked me for the prayers. Then he proceeded to tell me that he had made a recommendation to the minister of lands which was accepted, that the land acquisition of my farm be withdrawn. Short and sweet! This is now the first ‘official’ word I have received that I may keep my farm. I’m not sure what has gone on behind the scenes, and where exactly the stranger came from who had told me last week I was to continue farming, but this is now official. Isn’t God Good! And a healing to go with it!!! He closed the meeting with the comments, ‘Maybe your prayers have been heard!’ God is GOOD!!!
9 July: Today is a day for rejoicing! I was reading in the Psalms this morning all about praise and thanksgiving, and my heart just wanted to sing out loud for joy. So I said to the Lord, today I will ask for nothing, today I just want to dedicate to thanksgiving and praising of Your Holy Name. He is Soooo good to us!!!
Yesterday Mandy and I were having lunch at a restaurant and a lawyer (black man) whom I know walked past me. I put out my hand and gave him a friendly greeting. He stood and chatted with me for a short while and then said, ‘I read in the newspaper that you prayed for the lands Commissioner and he was healed.’ I was shocked. I had no idea that the story had gone out to the local newspapers. But now I suddenly understood a bit more of what had happened. When I had prayed for the Lands Commissioner he was miraculously healed, and the story about that spread among the political circles, and the end result was that they decided to give my farm back to me!
But there is more… Last week I went to see a mechanic who had worked on my car. He happened to be working on the car of a smartly dressed black man. I greeted this man (Whom I did not know at all), and commented on how smart he looked in his suit. The mechanic then introduced me to the man as Mr Jackson, and the guy immediately was unusually pleased and said he was so happy to at last meet me. I had no idea why he might be so happy, but we struck up a very friendly conversation about farming, and I offered to help him should he need advice in any way. When the mechanic had finished what he was doing we went to look at my car, and he said to me, ‘Do you know who that was?’ I replied that I did not, to which he replied, ‘That’s the chief magistrate of the Midlands!’
So now I suddenly know why he was so pleased to see me. The story of the healing must have gotten to him too as he is in the political ranks. Now isn’t this amazing! If I had gone to law, as so many people advised me to do, I would have appeared before this man against the Commissioner, having paid the lawyer lots of money. I would have lost the case, and made enemies with the commissioner and the magistrate. The lawyer would have made a lot of money out of me, and I would be worse off. But by obeying God’s way of ‘loving our enemies, and praying for those who despitefully use us…’, I have ended up being friendly with both the magistrate and the commissioner, who has been miraculously healed. The lawyer did not make any money from me, but rather the message of the gospel has gone into all these people’s hearts, and I have my farm back!!! God’s ways are certainly higher than ours!!
Yesterday when the lawyer told me about the newspaper article, and the realization of what the Lord had done hit me, an incredible joy came over me, and I started to laugh and laugh uncontrollably for a long time. I could hardly eat or speak. Every time I opened my mouth to say something, a new wave of laughter bubbled from deep within.
So today is just a day of thanksgiving, singing and laughter. Won’t you laugh with me? The Joy of the Lord is our strength!!!