“Rain in Due Season,” Ensign, July 1978, 68–69
I often find myself pinpointing events in relation to other more profound experiences—the year I was married, the year my father died, the year we built the house or the dairy barn. … 1977 was such a year. For me, it will be the year of the miracle.
I am a farmer in Cache Valley, Utah. Every farmer knows that weather has more to do with his success or failure than everything else combined. The long, dry fall of 1976 allowed us to do many things usually left unfinished in an ordinary year. We did the plowing, repaired the sagging fences, and leveled several dusty fields. Then, because there was nothing left to do, we went “rock picking”—about the only thing my usually helpful family despise. Fortunately, in their eyes, most seasons do not last long enough to schedule a “rock-picking” time. Usually we just jump, bump, and roll over the same old rocks season after season.
But December of 1976 was warm and dry. We used every Saturday in December on the hated task and even—to the family’s dismay—part of the holidays between Christmas and New Year’s Day. By January 1 the field was clean and smooth—but still dry. The month drew to an end with only a skiff of snow; even the mountains were bare and gray. Only the thin white covering of fluff gave our valley some semblance of winter.
During this time the stake presidents in the Logan Region were called to meet with our Regional Representative, Brother M. A. Kjar. On Sunday, January 23, the outcome of the meeting was made known to the members of the Hyrum Stake, as we met for the first stake conference in our newly completed stake house. Brother Kjar outlined plans for a special fast. Our stake president, Garth Lee, announced that the fast would begin January 26 at 6:00 P.M. and that on the evening of the 27th we would hold a prayer service.
This was the beginning of the miracle. The fast was observed with enthusiasm. Over fifty percent of the stake assembled for the prayer service—old people, men and women with young families, teenagers, and college students. We sang. President Lee led our congregation in a prayer, asking the Lord to send us the needed moisture in due time that we might plant and harvest.
The moisture did not come that night, nor did it come in the following weeks. February was warm, melting what light snow remained. I returned to the field to work down the plowed ground, hoping to take advantage of the little moisture. But the hard lumps would not give way. Obviously the Lord’s answer was “not yet,” but in our impatience we sometimes found it difficult to hear him.
In mid-February the governor declared Utah a disaster area. The whole economy was suffering. Most winter resorts had failed to open at all; others were operating at limited capacity. Tire stores featured snow tires in an ironic, never-ending sale. Communities urged citizens to use water carefully. Now the skeptics began to mock those who had put their faith in God. One such even wrote a letter to the local paper asking if we did not know that nature, not God, controlled the weather.
What the skeptics did not know was that prayers and fasting were continuing. Time and again I turned to the promise, “If ye walk in my statutes, and keep my commandments, and do them;
“Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” (Lev. 26:3–4.)
In March our faith was renewed. Several good snows came; precipitation for the month was “normal.” The last week was clear and warm, and the ground dried quickly. I returned to the fields. The once-hard lumps yielded easily to the disk and the harrows and a good seedbed presented itself. On March 21 and 22 I planted forty-six acres of barley; a week later we finished planting the grain on the stake welfare farm.
Now the testing began again. The month of April came and went without rain. At stake quarterly conference President Lee concluded, “Plant your crops; the Lord has heard your prayers.”
By now Porcupine Dam Reservoir was barely half-full and the runoff from the mountains had already stopped. March’s moisture had penetrated the ground only six or eight inches; experts gave us little hope of any crop on dry farms and less than fifty percent harvest on irrigated land. Local irrigation boards set up plans for summer rationing. We continued to pray in public meetings and private supplications.
On May 5 the answer began. From that moment, few could doubt it. It was as though the Lord had waited for the test of our faith to be completed, and then accepted it fully. Day after day the rain fell on the young crops; May was the wettest month in the recorded history of our valley. When hay-cutting time arrived, this valley had one of the best crops ever.
Statistically, 1976 is recorded as a drought. But the rains came as the manna fell for the ancient Israelites—as we needed it, but with none to spare. As each crop matured in its season, it was average or better.
As the season of the sign drew to an end, our barns were not only filled; they were running over. Our stake welfare farm yielded its best crop—so did my farm. My granaries were filled, and my heart was overflowing.
Our stake met again on September 22 at the call of our stake president, this time to express gratitude to the Lord for his mercies. Approximately fifty percent of the stake gathered once more to share in the prayer of thanksgiving.
I left the meeting calm and peaceful, my faith and testimony strengthened by the test. I would never again doubt miracles. Driving home, I recalled another scripture: “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things, and obey not his commandments.” (D&C 59:21.)
Suddenly, I realized that rain was falling against the windshield.