The Seeds of Winter
By Pastor JJ
A few days ago there was a beautiful snow fall, and for a half a moment the world was blanketed in white. My boys and I immediately just HAD to go out and build a snowman. Because it was actually kind of warm outside, the snow was perfect for packing into big balls and a giant snowman was made – completely with a carrot nose, stick arms and a hat and scarf. As the week wore on, the weather heated up and all the snow on the ground disappeared and our poor beautiful snowman withered. The leaves and dirt started to poke through the clean snow and eventually the head fell clean off. I got home yesterday and I’ll be honest I was just burnt out. Bad news on top of bad news had piled up for me, and I was so exhausted. I got out of the car and I looked across the yard at the sad, withered shrunken snowman and I couldn’t help but smirk and mutter, “me too man, me too.” I probably don’t need to go through my laundry list of annoying and/or devastating things that have come down in the past few weeks. It probably looks the same as yours – quarantines, staff shortages and supply chain breakdowns, COVID numbers, deaths and regular seasonal illnesses, school shootings in the news, and of course – the general weariness that comes with gray skies and early darkness. It’s just been hard. I mean, it’s been hard all along, but it is still hard – and our hope for it to get any better is flickering. I had a friend post something in a group chat the other day – about struggling with the size of our faith in the hard moments of suffering in life. She asked about the mustard seed faith. (For those who don’t know, there’s this part in the bible where Jesus says if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, we can move mountains – Matt 13:31-32). Even though yes, we know that our mustard seed faith may one day grow into a big wonderful tree – right now it doesn’t seem like a mustard seed is big enough to handle the problems we are dealing with today. And that really stuck with me – I thought about it as I prayed for her and her situation all afternoon. And then I was reminded of a small, simple truth that I wanted to share with you today. Something that helped pull me out of my funk and restored my soul for that evening. A seed is not JUST a potential tree, that will one day grow. A seed is also a protective shell, that weathers the elements until the conditions are just right for growth. Remember that seeds STAY seeds throughout ALL of winter - and that's okay! That's a seed doing exactly what it's supposed to do. Now, imagine that faith is a seed, and the little bit of green life inside of the seed is our hope. Maybe we aren’t blossoming into a giant beautiful tree where birds can come and dwell – but the seed is providing us another service. Our faith preserves and protects our hope until the conditions are right for that little bit of green hope to poke it’s head out and make a real effort at growth. To say it’s been a tough year borders on a laughable understatement. Maybe you are feeling like I was – like a withered, dirty snowman. Maybe you are disappointed that your faith is not a powerful, tree with thick branches and impressive fruit. Maybe your faith is just a tiny seed right now, and it doesn’t feel like enough. But that’s okay. Your seed is doing what it is supposed to do in a hostile environment. You will weather this storm, and when the moment is right – the seeds of faith will sprout and your hope will bloom again. Hang in there. We will make it through this yet.