19th Century, Agriculture, farming, History, Intercession, Jesus, Minnesota, Natural Disaster

Grasshopper Plague 1873


Grasshoppers darken the skies of southwestern Minnesota. For the next five summers they strip the land bare. Charities and the state provide some relief, but many farmers lose everything.
“‘The wheat!’ Pa shouted. He dashed out the back door and ran toward the wheat-field.
“The grasshoppers were eating. You could not hear one grasshopper eat, unless you listened very carefully while you held him and fed him grass. Millions and millions of grasshoppers were eating now. You could hear the millions of jaws biting and chewing.
“Pa came running back to the stable. Through the window Laura saw him hitching Sam and David to the wagon. He began pitching old dirty hay from the manure-pile into the wagon, as fast as he could. Ma ran out, took the other pitchfork and helped him. Then he drove away to the wheat-field and Ma followed the wagon.
“Pa drove around the field, throwing out little piles of stuff as he went. Ma stooped over one, then a thread of smoke rose from it and spread. Ma lighted pile after pile. Laura watched till a smudge of smoke hid the field and Ma and Pa and the wagon.
“Grasshoppers were still falling from the sky. The light was still dim because grasshoppers covered the sun.”*

Holy Spirit, we don’t know why You allow tragedy, but we thank you that you work ‘all things together for good for those that trust him.” This event must have felt like some kind of biological warfare; its’ devastation being so total.  How helpless it must have felt to take any useful action in the face of this swarm?!

Many would find this type of annihilation a ‘proof’ that You are not God. They may fail to see beyond the immediate to the fact that You’ve given us a will to choose lightness or darkness when our the object of our security is touched. They may fail to see that in the depths of pain, one’s greatness of character arises. Nearly every Bible story contains a main character who suffers, and often suffers unjustly.

Lord, I do not want to judge my state in their response to this plague. I do want to ask forgiveness for responses of anger or bitterness and unforgiveness towards You. Whether You allowed us to be tested, or whether the grasshoppers came because of natural law and overpopulation; You are righteous in Your judgments. Lord, forgive us our lack of trust that You bring life to the land, whether human or not? You truly are King of the Universe! May we bless You and not forget the days of life and health you have given. Will You show us how to work with insects in balance? Will You bless all insect and plant life through out our land?

We are fickle. We think You serve us instead of the truth that we are Your people and the sheep of Your pasture. Father, help Your Church to not cower in fear in the face of this accusation of the enemy, but answer with confidence in Your love. May we believe as David, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust him.”

*P.T.H. cites timeline formerly at this URL: mnhs.org/about/dipity_timeline.htm
The Minnesota Historical Society Web site, http://www.mnhs.org , is fantastic! Check it out! Images are from https://images.google.com/?gws_rd=ssl; again, an amazing resource!