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It is springtime! Somehow this spring feels even more special than usual given all that was happening at this time last year. This new season is one of hope and renewal.
Earlier this month we had the exciting opportunity to celebrate our grandson‘s second birthday. It was the perfect family party for our precious little man, and everyone was so aware of how special it was to have four generations represented. This little boy is loved and cherished, and we are all so thrilled to watch him grow and learn every day.
Those of you reading this who are also grandparents and great-grandparents know just what I mean when I say that I feel like just a few minutes ago, we were celebrating his mother’s second birthday party! Time does fly, but what a joy it is to watch your children grow into a wonderful young men and women. What an honor it is to sow faith, hope, and love deeply into their hearts as they learn and grow.
We have been in New Mexico latetly, visiting our younger daughter and her husband. Outside the place we are staying is a beautiful fruit tree. The blossoms are just starting to burst into bloom, rich with the promise of a bountiful harvest to come. The tree was planted decades ago, and lovingly tended by people I will never know. I am so blessed to enjoy the literal fruit of their labor.
While here, I have been reading Edith Schaeffer’s classic The Tapestry. In it she recounts her family's life story, and beautifully captures the idea of all of history and all of mankind being woven together by God in a gorgeous and complex tapestry. Each of us from every generation is connected in ways that we do not understand - that we cannot understand until heaven. All of our lives are vitally important to someone else’s life.
This flies directly in the face of one of the great lies currently floating around in our society - namely, that people are just a random chance of chemicals or evolutionary happenstance, and this accidental chance of existing is all there is to life. When we take time to understand that this is really what many people believe (because this is what they have been taught!), it helps to make sense of some of the chaos we see all around.
If your life doesn't matter, then getting drunk or high to numb the fear and boredom makes sense. If this life is all there is, then trying to find temporary pleasure in plentiful sex, drugs, relationships, and even food makes sense. If you are a random accident of evolution, then of course you might feel that you are in the wrong body, or that you have no purpose or meaning in life whatsoever. If there is nothing after this - no eternity - and if life has no meaning, then who cares if even have my babies let alone take good care of them? This erroneous way of thinking is bringing so much pain and suffering to so many.
The Word of God clearly teaches that life is no accident. Woven throughout scripture and foundational to our faith is the truth that each of us in made in God's image, and that we are lovingly crafted with purpose and beauty by our very present and very involved Father in Heaven. One of the loveliest psalms states this clearly...
For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
Psalm 139: 13-16
And considering the vast effects of the fall of mankind on this world, what a miracle it is that any of us are here in the first place! It is possible that the fact some precious baby 400 years ago survived a childhood illness means that you are alive today. A battle which took place centuries ago on a different continent might have wiped out your ancestor, but did not - and here you are. Think of all of the generations that had to hold together for you to be born here and now. Life is such a wonderful gift!
In her book, Mrs. Schaeffer brings up the idea of each life planting seeds into the earth, bearing fruit that will impact the generations to come. Some people waste their entire lives in planting bitter, hateful seeds that will continue to hurt and harm for generations to come. For example, a father who abandons his family, or a mother who abuses her children. Or people like Karl Marx or Adolf Hitler writing their caustic books.
Thankfully, many more people that we will never know about spent their lives planting beautiful seeds of hope, faith, and love which grew into abundant, fruitful trees that we all still enjoy today. Some of us may see little fruit throughout our own given years, but our life just might touch and encourage someone else who will be the very one to open the heart of a city or nation for Jesus.
What small glimpses we get of the preparation of the ground for the planting of evil seeds, leading to despair, and the preparation of the ground for the planting of the seeds of truth and true hope.
This leads me to wonder what kind of seeds I am planting. Is my life and time only spent on myself and my comfort, or am I making sure to plant wonderful things into the lives of my family and neighbors that will bear healthy fruit for decades, even centuries?
What a wonderful privilege we have as Christian people to share what we know about life, supported with the knowledge that each of us was purposefully and lovingly created in the image of our great God. Too many people believe that nothing that they do matters. Some people use this to live selfish and destructive lives, but many are just trapped in sadness and despair. Instead of being frustrated at such behavior, we can reach out to hurting people all around us with truth and hope.
There are hundreds of people reading these words - if we would take this message to heart, we could have a great impact on this generation. Be encouraged today - your life is making a great difference and is vitally important to many others. The healthy seeds you are sowing into your family and friends and neighbors will bear good fruit for generations to come.
Hi! I'm Mary - mother to two wonderful grown daughters, wife to an incredible husband, and loving our life in the piney woods of Texas... (read more!)