I just returned from my local garden center. I loaded my newly purchased perennials and potting soil into the back of my minivan and lowered the windows so the warm Spring breeze could wash all around me on the drive home. My indulgence for the season, a large Star Jasmine, filled my van with a fragrance that must have originated in Heaven itself and as I steered my beat-up suburban carriage down road I felt like royalty.
I could not help but think back to the Spring and Summer before my girls came home when the gardener in me seemed to have died in the wilderness of wait. My garden which normally burst forth with vegetables and flowers lay dormant, except for the weeds which flourished unchecked by my hoe and trowel. I was mourning for my daughters and my garden reflected the barren wilderness of my grief.
The following Winter, my girls came home at last and when Spring arrived I found my newly mended heart was filled with thankfulness. So, I went out into my garden, my children with me. A kind friend had given my new daughters child sized garden tools as a welcome home gift. Together, we began to clear the weeds that had taken over during the past season of neglect. Side by side, we cleared away the fruit of sorrow so that we could plant a reflection of our joy in its place.
What a delight it was to introduce my daughters to concepts completely new to them. Roseline had spent virtually her entire life in within the walls of the orphanage. Claudine had spent the years from age 3 – 5 there and could remember little else. With wonder they gazed at the tiny seeds I placed in their hands as I explained that the small seemingly dead kernel would be buried and then bring forth new life. They gasped in amazement at the thought.
“Anything must be possible in this place,” their faces seemed to say.
Day after day, they pleaded to go outside and water their seeds as they waited, full of hope and wonder, for the first small green sprouts to appear. Then one day, I took them to see the first tender life bursting forth from rich, damp soil and they jumped, clapped and cheered with delight.
Death to life, sustained by the hope of what would be.
It was a picture of my dream of becoming their mother and it was a picture of so much more. Whenever I plant a seed, which by all appearances is completely dead and I think about the life it will produce, I am reminded of a Seed buried once so long ago which burst forth with abundant life for all:
“Jesus replied, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.
“Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” John 12:23-28
He was willing to lay down his life so that he might bring forth life in us.
And He calls those of us who have been redeemed by him to live our lives in the same way.
Over the next few days, I am going to take you on a journey. Pack your bags and prepare your hearts because we are going to visit a man who took this commandment of Christ seriously. He stood at the crossroads of his life and faced a decision: Would he save himself or lay down his life for others?
Come with me to Darfur. Come with me to meet a Lost Boy who was found. Come meet a man who planted the seed of his life in the Sahara.
Stay tuned for upcoming stories of Everyday Miracles in Darfur.