Three days before Christ­mas, Jesus gath­ered my friend, Dr. Andrea Blaine, into His arms and car­ried her across the thresh­old into par­adise. Andrea’s depar­ture tore a stag­ger­ing­ly huge hole into the heart of her hus­band, her two teenage chil­dren, her cher­ished friends, col­leagues and stu­dents. In ear­ly Decem­ber, Andrea had asked me to her home, explain­ing that she had some­thing impor­tant to say. 

As deplet­ed as she was, hav­ing bat­tled col­orec­tal can­cer for five years and near­ing the end, Andrea sum­moned the strength to share an epiphany: 

One evening sev­er­al months ago, I was very upset. I asked Jesus why He
did not cure me? Why, if He had it with­in His abil­i­ty to heal, did He allow
the can­cer to spread? Jesus moved close until I could feel His arms sur­round me, and He whis­pered, Andrea, you know what this is. You under­stand ger­mi­na­tion. Don’t look too close­ly at the seed, look deep­er to see the beau­ty wait­ing to be revealed.”
In a flash of insight I saw what Jesus meant. When I earned my master’s degree in Hor­ti­cul­ture, I learned all about seeds and growth. Did you know that seeds are amaz­ing­ly com­plex? A sin­gle seed, like a mus­tard seed, for exam­ple, has a remark­able nutri­tion­al pro­file, includ­ing vit­a­mins A, B6, phos­pho­rus, potas­si­um, sodi­um, and zinc, just to name a few — all enclosed in a tiny round seed less than two mil­lime­ters in diam­e­ter! The full poten­tial of the plant is con­tained in that tiny seed.
Jesus explained that I was nev­er meant to remain a seed for­ev­er, enclosed and pro­tect­ed. My seed coat had to be cracked to allow the embryo of my soul space to grow. He said that just look­ing at the seed of my soul, it was impos­si­ble to know what was hid­den inside, that I wouldn’t know until it burst into blos­som. But that when it did, it would take my breath away.
Gaz­ing at me intent­ly, Andrea con­clud­ed, That’s what Jesus told me. So I have been apply­ing what I know about seeds and ger­mi­na­tion to the growth of my soul. In both cas­es, only God can bring the growth, but, as gar­den­ers, we coop­er­ate by mak­ing sure that the sur­round­ing soil is full of nutri­ents and has enough water. 
So what kind of soil does a soul need to thrive and grow? I have iden­ti­fied the core dis­ci­plines of Jesus as being essen­tial to the process, and the impor­tance of like-mind­ed com­pan­ions who help me increase my under­stand­ing and grow my abil­i­ty to coop­er­ate with the Holy Spir­it in the ger­mi­na­tion of my soul. Despite every­thing, I am feel­ing very optimistic.”

Two weeks lat­er, Andrea’s seed coat” split wide open as the sprout of her res­ur­rec­tion life pushed up and broke through the soil. Her final words to me were: 

Respond­ing to God’s trans­form­ing work requires brav­ery — we must be brave.
We must allow God to find the crack and pry it open.
We must make spaces to pray, to deep­en our trust in God because He is at work.
It may be hard to imag­ine, but God is doing some­thing beau­ti­ful in us that will burst forth into life.

For this slight momen­tary afflic­tion is prepar­ing us for an eter­nal weight of glo­ry beyond all mea­sure, because we look not at what can be seen but at what can­not be seen; for what can be seen is tem­po­rary, but what can­not be seen is eter­nal” (2 Corinthi­ans 4:17 – 18 NRSV).

Starting Soon: The 2020-21 Renovaré Book Club

An inten­tion­al way to read for trans­for­ma­tion not just infor­ma­tion. Runs Sep­tem­ber 2020 through May 2021.

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