God-Reliance vs Self-Reliance

“Self-reliance” has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? The term evokes a range of images in people: the prepper capable of surviving 30 years after societal meltdown, back-to-the-land hippies, or the pioneer living in a sod house in the 1800s. At Novel Farm, we admire the values of determination, hard-work and independence. We like to think we possess many of these same values, but there are times when we like to indulge in “self-reliant” aspirations (i.e. where our careers will be 10 years from now, expanding our garden to encompass a whole acre, etc.). Let’s be completely honest, if we truly relied only on ourselves then we’d be a complete failure. Our life experiences thus far have shown us we are totally and completely “God-reliant.”

“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Proverbs 3:5-6

Our interest in homesteading has made our reliance on God even more apparent. One of the most obvious examples is weather. Last summer proved to be tough on many gardens across the United States, but our area experienced a wide array of ups and downs.

The growing season started out great! Our tomato plants were loaded with beautiful green tomatoes at the end of June, just waiting for the sun to come and give them a nice suntan. Unfortunately, the sun never seemed to shine bright enough. Many of our tomatoes rotted on the vine before they were able to fully ripen. The term tragedy might be a bit of a stretch, but that’s what it felt like at the time since we had already let our dreams of the future harvest shape our expectations.

“All creatures look to you to give them food at the proper time.” Psalm 104:27

July brought the promise of ripe tomatoes, but despite our hopes the heavens opened up and blessed us with copious amounts of rain. Our garden was flooded not once, but twice! Many folks in our area lost their entire gardens due to flooding. Thankfully, the wood chips we use in our Back to Eden garden absorbed the water quickly and we continued to reap a harvest. A diminished harvest, but a harvest nonetheless.

Flooded Garden

Flooded Barn

“I will send you rain in its season, and the ground will yield its crops and the trees their fruit.” Leviticus 26:4

Our maple syrup harvest has also suffered the last couple of years. For the sap to run well enough to collect a harvest, the temperature has to fall below freezing at night, and rise to about 40 degrees during the day. Unfortunately, we have gone from freezing winter to lukewarm spring the last few years without that sweet spot the sap needs to run well.

“The trees of the Lord are full of sap, The cedars of Lebanon which He planted.” Psalm 104:16

We started breeding rabbits last year with overall great success. However, we did have a litter not make it. One day, we noticed the mom had uncovered the baby rabbits in the nest and they were not moving. We have no idea what caused her to stop taking care of them, but that’s the way it is. We provided shelter, food, water – everything rabbits need to survive. Yet they didn’t survive. 

“For what happens to the children of man and what happens to the beasts is the same; as one dies, so dies the other. They all have the same breath, and man has no advantage over the beasts, for all is vanity. All go to one place. All are from the dust, and to dust all return.” Ecclesiastes 3:19-20

One of the most amazing aspects of God’s creation are seeds. We received a brown package a couple weeks ago with our seeds from Baker Creek. It’s crazy to imagine the small envelopes contained inside its bubble wrapped interior hold all the seeds we’ll use to fill our garden with produce. A seed is such a small, seemingly insignificant thing, but it’s packed with potential!


So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.” Luke 17:6

Our reliance on God goes far beyond homesteading. We rely on Him for everything. It’s great to make plans, but whether or not they come to fruition is up to God. We have a huge responsibility in life. We all have our role to play. However, we are totally incapable on our own. There’s only so much we can do apart from God. We must do our part, then we can expect God to His part.

“Therefore I say to you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink; nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air, for they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?… 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:25-26, 33


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