You can see, of course, where I am going...
This is what the Spirit said to me: Seed MUST sprout. It can't not. It is in its nature to germinate; the life it contains cannot be denied. In the parable of the Sower, the seeds could not fail to sprout. In each case, life would emerge - inevitable, inescapable, glorious life. The lack was in the soil - the heart - upon which the seed - God's Word - fell.
Some sprouted on the wayside and was trampled dismissively, inviting the Enemy to swoop down and devour what was not cherished. Some sprouted on rocks and withered for lack of soil, dearth of community. Some sprouted among weeds and valiantly fought for a place, only to be unworthily displaced. But in each and every case, the seeds must sprout. Life emerges. The Word cannot return void, it cannot fail to germinate. As long as it is not starved, strangled, or stomped upon - it will multiply.
Have the ones we yearn after done awful things? Have they dismissed, discarded, and destroyed God's work in their hearts? Then - cast more seed. We sow and we sow and we sow and we wear them down until irrepressible life sneaks deep into the fissures of their hard soil and God sends his people to water with kindness and weed with care and fence in the vulnerable patches and hold the Enemy at bay. Sooner or later Life will take root. Seed must sprout. Gardens will grow.
I was reading Psalm 126 in my morning devotions and, in a moment, we are going to read this psalm together in our breakout groups. We all know some variation of the verse that says, “Those who sow in tears will reap in joy”. But it is the next verse, verse 6, that really undoes me.
In the NIV it reads, “Those who go out weeping, carrying seed to sow, will return with songs of joy, carrying sheaves with them.” In the Hebrew, the verbs “go” and “return” and doubled up to convey emphasis; literally: Those who go, go, will come, come… There is a persistence implied, a refusal to give up hope. A determination to cast and sow no matter what. And the description in the Psalm is of seeds carried in a drawstring sack, a heavy load. Because sometimes hope is a heavy load to carry. So, here is my version of verse 6: (Nikki’s Amplified Living Translation)
“You who go, and go, and go, bearing a heavy load of hope - seeds of hope, sown in grief - you will come, and come, and come, bearing sheaves from the harvest with shouts of joy.”
That Psalm moved me. All through that day I was pondering the burden of my own sack of hopeful seeds and thinking about those I have been praying for whose hearts have not yet been melted and healed by the love of Jesus. I told God, “This is too hard. I’m tired. I feel sad way too much of the time.”
Later that afternoon, my husband and I celebrated our anniversary by going to see a virtual art exhibit called Imagine Van Gogh. We walked into an immense room with eight-meter high walls and pillars covered in the projected images of over 200 of his paintings, all constantly shifting, being expanded, fragmented, projected into different shapes on the walls and pillars and floors, and synchronized to the classical music of composers like Bach and Mozart. It was staggering. When I stepped into the gallery I froze. All around me and above me and under my feet, this was the first image I saw.
“You who go, and go, and go, bearing a heavy burden of hope - seeds of hope, sown in grief - you will come, and come, and come, bearing sheaves from the harvest with shouts of joy.”
And so, weary but determined, I keep casting.