"He who ears, let him hear." Matthew 13:9
Often times we look at individual circumstances, both the good and the bad, but neglect to look at the whole picture. We wrap ourselves in excitement over the blessings or we hyper-focus on the trial. What if we could look at all parts of our journey as truth, Jesus truth? And if we could do that, how might these truths place us on a new path with Jesus?
One of my most favorite things about God's Word is when I read a familiar story and Jesus sheds new light on it. When I peel back another layer and the truth of His Word becomes more complex, more beautiful and more applicable to my life. I recently experienced this peeling back process. (It just gets me so stinking excited and on fire!)
In Matthew chapter 10, Jesus shares the Parable of the Sower. He explains the 4 different types of soils (the soil represents our individual walk with Jesus) and what happens to the seeds of truth when they are sown onto the specific soils. Many teachers and commentaries focus on the soils, which makes sense because it is the most obvious focal point. Jesus goes into great detail about the soil along the path, the rocky ground, the soil among the thorns, and the good soil. We read the parable and the description and we begin to evaluate our walk and which soil best represents us. We clearly understand that the good soil is the soil we want, but what in the world do we do to make sure our soil is "good".
The condition of our soil is entirely up to us. Life circumstances may stir up the soil. We can ask for help in picking up the rocks and tossing them aside. We might ask for help in identifying the thorns. But listen and understand, we have to be the ones to improve the condition of our soil. Our spouses, pastors, mentors, children, mommas, no one can do it but you and me. No one. The quality of our soil is so very important. It is how we give life. How we love. How we serve. How we walk this journey with Jesus.
As I studied this parable, I couldn't remove a specific image from my mind. Jesus, the sower, is holding a handful of seeds in his hands. These seeds are seeds of truth. The seeds represent Biblical truth, God's Word, His people, blessings, the good things, but also the hard things. The truth of who Jesus is will be known not only through the good, but also through the hard. The truth that Jesus' mercy and grace are demonstrated when we struggle with addiction, sickness, death, disappointment, and unimaginable pain. Jesus's love and strength can be felt in powerful ways when life is hard.
Imagine Jesus's hands full of seeds. These seeds are the amazing, good things, but also the hard things. Imagine these seeds all mixed together. Jesus holds them above our soil and He sprinkles the seeds...sometimes several fall, but sometimes the Sower only sows one. He hopes that the seeds will grow beautiful fruit, but the soil must be rich. Each seed has the potential to grow fruit to bring glory to God and show others the love of Jesus. They come from His pierced hands, and He entrusts us with them.
I find so much peace resting in this picture and truth. What are some of my seeds...
the godly man who leads our family
my beautiful, inside and out, children
the amazing humans God has placed in our path
opportunities to work with teenagers
the privilege to speak encouragement and truth to women
humiliation so deep that it has altered my confidence
grief of lost babies
difficulties in raising a special needs child
confusion over our calling in ministry
My Jesus held all of these seeds in His hands. The loss of a child next to the life of a child. He scattered these seeds with the hope that my soil would grow fruit. I believe my Jesus loves me. He wants to do no harm to me. Abba, daddy God, wants the very best for me.
Close your eyes and imagine the seeds in our Savior's hands. Think about the life you have lived thus far and the road that lays ahead. The Sower is holding ALL of the seeds in His hands. He is in control. He is all knowing. He is all powerful. Rest in the knowledge and the truth that not one seed needs to be wasted.
How is your soil? Do you need help throwing the rocks out? Do you need a friend to encourage you as you throw your thorns and thistles out? How is your journey...your walk with Jesus?
If you can only think of the hard things in life because they have been so BIG and so OVERWHELMING, rest in the truth that even those things can be used to grow good fruit. Begin with assessing your soil. Cleaning up the garden and seeking someone to encourage and help you.
Lean in and hear these words...
Jesus loves you. The Sower holds each seed in His hands and He is sowing with the hopes of a loving relationship with you. You are adored by the one who created you.