Through stress comes light of truth

I just returned home from a trip to the Gulf to assist the Mississippi Farm Bureau in celebrating 100 years of service in the state. It was refreshing to visit with the folks that I got to hang out with. When you get to sit down and discuss raising mules as a kid with 80-year-old Bobby Moody, whose dad was one of the premiere mule breeders back in the day, how could a trip get any better?

(However, as with every good trip, the best part was making it home to Nebraska just in time to see Landri show her Hereford steer at the Sherman County Fair.)

Of all of the amazing new people I met on the Mississippi trip, it was the Sunday morning worship message from cowboy Pastor Jeff Easterling that really touched me. For the invocation to begin the message, he thanked God for the “tough times that we are currently living in so that we may see more clearly the light of God.”

It immediately made me think of cattle grazing wheat. Largely unrecognized by today’s world is the fact that when cattle graze they stress the plant and it is the best thing that could ever happen to the plant. The greater the stress, the more the wheat plant sends its roots deeper to ensure its livelihood. We need to run our roots deeper right now to deal with all the stresses we are facing.

The second thing that he said that really sent my mind spinning was “a new level of freedom requires a new level of discipline.” I have never given that any direct thought but nothing could be truer than that. In the history of mankind, no people’s citizenry has ever experienced this level of freedom. With this level of freedom upon us, it is extremely easy to take for granted every sacrifice that made it happen. We must stop taking this freedom for granted because it is going to cost us exactly that in the end.

The two statements made by Pastor Easterling are not unrelated. When we go through some rough times it makes us think about what is really important. It is essential that to continue to ride the freedom train without a ticket we fight for what generations before us were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for.

The Mississippi Farm Bureau boasts that it has never started a meeting in its 100 years of gathering without prayer. I think that pretty much sums up the true success this organization has enjoyed. It is not hard to see that when the word of God is suppressed it leads to the challenges we now face. If we in the agricultural community cannot lead the charge in thanking God for these resources that we manage to improve human lives, then who is going to?

It is clear to me that the comforts of the day lead to complacency, which leads to shortages of freedom. No more powerful words have graced my ears and awareness at a function than those of Pastor Easterling when he said and repeated “a new level of freedom requires a new level of discipline.”

Those words fell on welcoming ears the same weekend as the United States celebrates the Day of the American Cowboy. No cowboy has ever been in a spot where he didn’t question the very freedom he has as a God-fearing, resource stewarding American citizen. The real question is how many of us are willing to step up to be part of the solution so we can pass that freedom to the next generation of citizens of the United States of America?

Editor’s note: The views expressed here are the author’s own and do not represent the views of High Plains Journal. Trent Loos is a sixth generation United States farmer, host of the daily radio show, Loos Tales, and founder of Faces of Agriculture, a non-profit organization putting the human element back into the production of food. Get more information at, or email Trent at [email protected].