Have you ever smelled the pleasant aroma of honeysuckle or relaxed under the shade of an enormous oak tree on a hot summer day? The Bible reminds us that these wonderful gifts of nature did not become magnificent, pleasing or productive instantaneously. They became that way over time–a long time. They all went through a growth process that began with a seed.
In the Parable of the Sower found in Matthew 13, Jesus tells the story of a farmer who scattered seed. Each seed landed in a different set of circumstances. Unfortunately, every seed he scattered did not realize its full potential. Let’s see what happened:
“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop-a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
(Matthew 13:3-8, NIV)
- Some had it easy; they landed on fertile ground.
- Some never had the chance to grow; birds devoured them.
- Some experienced a little growth, but were destroyed by weeds.
- And some landed in a hard place and could not stand the heat.
The little seed eaten by birds may have been too small to protect itself. And the little sprout choked by the weeds may not have possessed enough strength to survive among thorns. But, the little seed in a hard place had an option.
During hard times, we have an option too. We can perish in the shallow grounds of immaturity. Or, we can dig deep.
Digging deep spiritually requires us to root our faith firmly in Jesus Christ. In other words, we have to press through hard times and trust God more than we trust ourselves. Believe the principles found in his Word, rather than the negative reports and statistics we hear and see every day.
Remember, during a drought shallow ground may be parched and dry, but springs of water can be found well below the surface. So how do we get our roots (faith) to the Source?
- Pray (don’t worry)
- Meditate on the Word of God (not the news)
- Be thankful (there are others worse off than you)
- Give (even when it’s inconvenient and uncomfortable)
- Believe God (he really does have a plan)
Every time we do these things, especially when we don’t feel like it or believe it will help, our roots dig a little bit deeper. Eventually, the weak, fearful, stumbling Christian will become a strong, courageous, steadfast believer who can withstand the elements of this world (fear, greed, lack, sickness, et cetera) and provide shelter (encouragement and help) to others. Be encouraged, God promises a blessing to those who will trust him…
“But blessed are those who trust in the LORD and have made the LORD their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit.
(Jeremiah 17:7-8, New Living Translation)