Much of life starts from a seed. Even an Oak tree starts from an acorn that falls into the ground, and dies to its form to sprout and grow into a massive oak tree.
But it is not just the natural world that starts in seed form. Jesus compares faith to seed that can grow into a force that can move mountains. Dreams start in seed form. And sometimes answers to prayers start in seed form.
The prayer that was answered in seed form
Bill Johnson, senior pastor of Bethel church in California, tells a story in one of his messages. One day as he was speaking, God told him there was someone there that had prayed for $500.00 that morning. When he asked the audience who had prayed that prayer, a young lady said she had. Bill then gave her $50.00 from his pocket and told her that this was the seed to her prayer being answered.
Later that day, the young lady went to a grocery store and at check-out, there was a family ahead of her that couldn’t pay for their groceries. She took the $50.00 and paid the groceries for them, and thought, well there goes the 50 bucks. But later that evening, someone drove over to her house and gave her $500.00.
She planted the seed, and it grew into the full answer to her prayer. How often do we miss answers to prayer because they got answered in seed form and we missed it and failed to plant the seed? And seed first has to die and be spent, before it grows into the tree.
New life and freedom
Our Christian life is like that too. We are called to die to ourselves, so that a new life can take shape. A life that is in Christ. A life where we walk in the Spirit. A life of love, mercy, righteousness, freedom, and blessing. But none of that happens if we do not first die to ourselves.
In today’s society, we are waiting around to be healed from the issues that drive our porn addiction or the hurt that underlies our bitterness or anger. But we aren’t called to be healed so much as we are called to die. We forget that. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t sometimes things we need to deal with, but if you are waiting to be healed from the issues that drive your porn addiction, you will wallow a long time in that mud. The answer is to die, and let the new man arise.
Most every reference to healing I can think of in the Bible relates to physical healing. We have spiritualized it because we don’t take physical healing seriously, or because we don’t believe in it. So now we say it is about spiritual or emotional healing. But spiritually the call is to die to our old man, and let the new man, reborn in Christ, rise up and live.
The seed of dreams
Then there are the seeds of our dreams. This inner knowing that God has created us for a purpose beyond a mere surviving existence. That vision you had when you were younger and you were so sure you were created for that one thing. Then you grew up, and the disappointments came, and the wind blew so hard the seed got blown right off the tree.
With the wind came the peer pressure and covered the seed with so much mud and dirt that you could no longer find the vision of that dream. It began to rot in the hurt of life as you found yourself giving up on your dreams that God created you for. Then one day, that seed began to sprout again just when all hope was lost, and God started to grow that dream His way. With a supernatural sense of blessing.
Letting go of what was
Maybe some of you are not at the point of sprouting yet. You still feel like the seed is rotting and you wonder if all is lost and the seed may just never germinate. But God’s purpose for your life is still there. Even if you have lost sight of it.
If you trust God with your life, He will bring that dream to life. One of the things that happens though, is a transformation takes place. When it starts growing, it often doesn’t look like our old dream. The seed has been transformed into a growing sprout. Sometimes dreams need to die before they become what God intended them to be.
God wants to be involved in the growth of the dreams He has planted into our lives. And He will do what He needs to in order to get us to trust Him in bringing that to pass. Sometimes He will let our dreams die so completely that nothing we do can revive that dream. Then only He can bring that dream to be.
I gave up on my dreams
As a kid, when I was asked what I would be when I grew up, I never wavered. I always said that I would be in ministry. I had plenty of dreams of speaking to large crowds, and of teaching people about Jesus and ministering to the church. But the only picture I had of that kind of ministry was that of a pastor, and I was pretty sure I wasn’t really the normal pastor kind of material.
But I plotted my course according to that dream as best as I could. I ended up being a teacher in a Christian School. I never thought I would be a teacher. And then the winds came and blew the seed of my dream off the tree. And the disappointment and hurt was so severe that I almost vowed I would never be involved with ministry again. I wasn’t sure God could use me even if He had once wanted too.
And for about seven years, I attended church regularly but never really volunteered. I worked a bunch of mostly mundane jobs, and started my own small business. But my heart wasn’t involved in anything I did. Then through a group of friends, mentors, and church community, God started to revive that dream. I started volunteering in church and serving again. And the dream grew stronger again.
Your dream won’t emerge a perfectly formed tree
I still don’t have a clear picture of what it is exactly that God is steering me towards. I know it has to do with encouraging people, and building people, and teaching truth and grace and hope. It is why you are reading this blog today. It is one of the ways I am listening to God’s call. Write!
I know there is more to it. And I have a sense that it will be full-time soon. But my dream was so shattered, I couldn’t revive it. And even now, only God seems to be able to grow it. My dream didn’t emerge from the ground, perfectly formed into a fully grown tree. I just do what God lays on my heart to do today.
Last year God gave me a vivid dream one night about going back to university. So I applied. I don’t know how this will happen, or even when it will happen. That is not something I have a lot of control over right now. But I can do what I believe God asks me to do today, and trust God with the rest. You can too! God is trustworthy!