My parents and I just watched the movie Faith Like Potatoes. It’s a very good film; it’s independant. It’s a true story.
The premis is that there is this Scotch farmer in South Africa, Angus Buchan, with his wife and children who just is angry, desperate, always works, and he just feels hopeless. His wife convinces him gto go to church and he decides to give his life, farm, family, all to God. His faith is so pure and so vibrant. When a fire gets out of control, he prays for rain and God provides it. When a local woman gets struck by lightning and dies, God uses him to bring her back to life.
So when there’s this drought in the land for months and all the scientists are saying it won’t rain all year, Buchan gathers all the farmers, their families, their workers, and anyone else in a stadium and they pray for the violence and murders in the land, and for rain. Because of his faith that God will provide, he plants potatoes – a crop that needs an exceptional amount of water to prosper. When it’s time to harvest them, it hadn’t rained and all seemed hopeless. But God provided again and gave him a huge crop of huge potatoes.
—I really don’t mean to sound preachy. That’s the story. But it brings up a conflict for me.
I am a Christian, but I do know that there’s a lot of us who’s faith has fizzled out. It’s there, but we don’t feel on any similar degree as Angus Buchan. I know I’m not.
Here’s the paradox: When God’s performed such tangible miracles in your life as bringing a girl back to life and providing rain within minutes of you praying for it, how can you not have faith like potatoes? It seems like once those kinds of instances occur, you’re set. It seems like it would just be easy then.
But, say I was in the same situation. I’m a farmer, in a land that’s dust from drought, and I trust God to help grow a crop of potatoes. It doesn’t rain, and when I harvest them, I find nothing beneath the soil. This would give me no choice but to feel as if it were my fault. I didn’t have enough faith.
The bible verse that says if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can cast a mountain into the ocean. But I feel like that’s condemning me to never be able to have that faith. I feel like that’s God saying, “You can turn a mountain into a potato if you only have a little smidgen of faith. Try it. Are you able to turn that mountain into a potato? No? Has anyone? Have you ever? Then I guess you don’t have enough faith.”
This makes me feel like, even though God has the power, I have the control. If I have enough faith, God will do what I need him to. Massive, impossible miracles. If I do the right thing and believe enough, God will do what I need. So when that doesn’t happen, it feels like, “Sorry, Haley, you should have had more faith” or something.
This has been a paradox I haven’t ever been able to explain or understand. I haven’t been able to verbalize this confusion until this film, either. But here it is.