Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Seeds, death and fruit

Here's a little something I've been meaning to pen (uh..finger?) for a while. It's rambly and not well thought out nor well edited. But I thought it appropriate.

I made this simple graphics set for Easter on TLC. The verse had come to me about a week before, and I thought it suitable. Little did I know how appropriate this verse would be at that time. I made and put up this siggy on the day before Good Friday. It just so happened that it was also the day after I was told I would not get the scholarship to Oxford. My world was turned upside down and I wrote my thoughts and feelings at that moment in the piece entitled "When a dream dies". When I put up this set, the irony that I should have chosen this particular verse was not lost on me - but I chose to ignore it. I even posted a disclaimer stating that it had nothing to do with my current circumstances, which was true to a degree. I hadn't chosen the verse because of my circumstances, and I didn't really want to know about or accept the truth of this verse as it might apply to me at that particular point.

Of course God doesn't always worry about what we want. And this verse - being his very own words holds truth whether we choose to acknowledge it or not. God was speaking to me even though I was reluctant to hear it. While literally, this verse is looking forward to Jesus as the seed which would die to bring new life, it seems that it is a universal truth (one God was kind enough to place in the very fabric of nature for us as an example): to create beauty, or an improved life, a kind of struggle or death must take place first. The caterpillar must struggle its own way out of a cocoon before it emerges as a beautiful butterfly, a woman must experience excruciating pain to bring forth a new human life, and a seed must be buried in the ground and die before it can emerge as a life-giving plant.

I had a dream. I'm not big on having dreams, and in the context of the world, it wasn't the most audacious dream; but this was mine - the one I wanted and I felt it had been given to me as a gift, along with hope. Then, out of the blue and unexpectedly the dream died. It was stolen away from me and I was left with doubt and uncertainty and anger along with much confusion. But I'd said all along that my dream was in God's hands, for him to do with as he pleases. It's hard not to snatch it back out of his hands when you realise that he wants to do something different with it that what you had planned. But I bore my grief, I was well supported, and though it was very tough, I had no choice but to accept and watch as the Lord took my dead dream and buried it. I appreciated the fact that this happened at Easter. I think it was the first time I understood what the disciples must have gone through. Like them, I could not see how anything good might come out of this, and yet now, as it was then, Jesus' words held true.

The death of a seed leads to fruit. So too with the death of my dream. I'm still trying to figure out exactly what that fruit is, but there are a few signs I'm already seeing. When we plant a dead seed, we cannot always tell what type of fruit the plant will bear. Sometimes, like with nut trees, the fruit resembles the seed. Other times, the fruit takes an appearance which is startlingly different. Looking at the seed alone, one cannot tell. What you can almost always predict, though, is that the plant will bear more fruit than the one seed that produced it. In other words, a seed might be useful in itself. For example, it may contain elements that would be useful in health or industry. Burying such a seed seems like a waste - until you realise that its death, will bring about more fruit, and perhaps additional benefits (such as leaves with even more uses than the seed itself).

My dream died and was buried, but two weeks later a sprout formed, and then a shoot, followed by a single fruit - a nut-type seed that was identical to my original dream. In essence, my dream was restored to me - brought back to life. But the death resulted in more than just a restored seed. This plant has leaves and flowers with properties I'm only beginning to discover. One of them, was that it bore a second seed. If I had not watched my dream die, another girl may have had hers die forever. But now there is an extra seed. Dead seeds can multiply, and more can enjoy their fruit.

Other results of my dream dying are a renewed faith in God's supremacy, strengthened friendships with those who suffered alongside me, and especially the confidence and knowledge that my dream is really what I want, and the future I should seek. Only when something is taken away from you, with the possibility of no return, do you fully learn how much it means to you. If I had doubts about my dream before it died, they have vanished. The plant my dream bore has produced at least three new fruits: faith, love and hope. Faith in God's supremacy, the love of friends who supported me, and the hope of a dream renewed, with the knowledge that it is a real dream and not some fleeting fancy.

Woah...that got a lot longer than I intended, I guess I should wrap things up. And what better way to do so, than with our Lord's own words:

"Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies,it produces much grain. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honour." John 12:24-26

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