My first garden came to life this year.

Not long after Memorial Day, I prepared my makeshift garden boxes, poured the soil, and planted the seedsSome were no bigger than a pencil tip.

Just seeds. That’s all for now.

I gathered the packets and stared at the pictures. They revealed the future I anticipated.

Sunflowers. Marigolds. Bachelor Button. Zinnias.

But for now, black specks were sitting in dirt. No color. No beauty. Not yet.

 

Still. Eagerness and curiosity bring me to the garden each morning following.

I slip into my rain boots and head off to the compound. The garden is just inside. I shuffle my feet through the grass, watching the dew drops dance over my boots.

I push the piece of firewood aside to open the door and immediately peek at my flower beds.

It’s funny really. This eagerness and anticipation mounts with each new day. I don’t know what I’ll see as I look around the corner. And why should I come each morning with hope? After all, it’s only black specks in the ground.

Still, I come expecting life, new growth. I know the sprouts, light green and fragile, must come. One of these days, they will break through the black earth I placed them in.


In the Gospel of John, we read of a group of Greeks who have come to celebrate the Passover and ask to see Jesus. Two of the disciples, Philip and Andrew, relay this request to Jesus.

No doubt these individuals are curious about Jesus. Perhaps they’re seeking clarity on what His message is.

Jesus is drawing near to His death on the cross. It’s only days away now. The climax of His mission is around the corner, and He takes this opportunity to paint a picture of how His approaching death is intimately related to what must take place in those who desire to follow Him.

Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him. – John 12:23-26 (ESV)

Death and loss. The reality of following Jesus begins here. It’s counterintuitive, it’s extreme. Frankly, it’s hard. But the truth is this: where there is not death first, new life cannot follow.

Jesus promises life eternal to all who turn to Him as Lord and Savior.

He promises to produce abundant fruit in those who entrust Him with their lives. But first we must die to our old way of living.

To receive full, eternal life means losing and hating what this world now so readily offers to us.

In following Jesus, we choose to serve Him only. We go where He leads.

This all sounds crazy. And yes, if life and pleasure on this earth were all there was, this dying to self stuff would be crazy.

But there’s more. Far more. Because of Jesus.

In Jesus, nothing can stay dead.

In the verses following, glorification is declared over and over again. Jesus knows that His work on the cross, His plan of redemption for humanity, will not end in death! What Christ is about to endure at Calvary will indeed glorify the name of the Father (v. 27-28) because new life will be the result! For our Savior and for us. 


As I look around at my garden beds, I know those seeds I planted will emerge from the soil.

New life will come out of what I buried.

I have no doubt it will. Beauty will come out of this dirt.

In her book, These Strange AshesElisabeth Elliot writes –

All the Scriptural metaphors about the death of the seed which falls into the ground, about losing one’s life, about becoming the least in the kingdom, about the word’s passing away – all these go on to something unspeakably better and more glorious. Loss and death are only the preludes to life and gain. 

Something unspeakably better and more glorious. Life and gain.

In considering Christ – His death and resurrection – we can know our Friday grief, our Saturday waiting, will yield Sunday life and joy.

Death is not the final word. In Jesus, life {new, abundant, and eternal} is just the beginning. It was true for Him then, and it is true for us today.

The seed buried in the ground. The life of self surrendered to the Savior, Jesus Christ. Something unspeakably better will come forth. Something more glorious will emerge.

When we surrender. When we are buried. When we die.

He brings beauty. Multiplication and abundance. He brings LIFE.

 

3 thoughts on “Waiting for Life

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