When You Feel Like You’re Buried In The Dark
The Kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear then the full grain in the ear. Mark 4:26–28
We are such a make-it-happen, figure-it-out, fix-it-now people, aren’t we? We click on three easy steps to overcoming this, or ten top tips for working through that, each time hoping for a shortcut that will solve our problems and take away our pain. We manage and manipulate, numb, avoid and pretend and mostly try to arrange our lives in ways that prevent heartache. After all, who would choose to suffer, or go through something hard? Not me.
But this short parable Jesus told is a pointed reminder that there are some things we cannot fix or make happen, however much we’d like to. Our attempts at control are an illusion. They are smoke and mirrors that keep us occupied and achieve nothing. They distract us from facing our own brokenness and committing to the work of becoming whole.
There are times when, like the seed, we are buried deep in a darkness that we cannot find a quick fix for. It takes faith and patience to sit with the mystery, trusting in a process we can neither see nor understand. We have to trust the soil is doing what is necessary, nurturing and nourishing strong roots. We have to trust that the seed will germinate and break through the surface at the right time, even when all is silent and the only choice seems to be still. The Hebrew word for be still can be translated as relax, or let it go and there is peace to be found in acknowledging and letting go of what we cannot solve or heal or arrange for ourselves.
My favourite thing about this parable is the certainty that the wheat will grow. There is no suggestion that the seed is faulty or defective. It has not been sidelined or forgotten about just because it’s under the ground. Growth is inevitable; the earth will do its job and the seed contains all it needs to flourish and bloom in the right way at the right moment.
There is a time to be buried and a time to bloom. In the seasons of darkness I am so thankful for the people who are prepared to sit it out in the mud with me. I’m thankful that seasons don’t last forever. I’m thankful that under the soil, tucked away and unnoticed, tiny miracles of new life are just beginning.
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