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Kernel of Truth

Born for Adversity

By Laura J. Bagby Sr. Producer I was reading in my devotion recently something that made the wheels turn.

In Matthew 13:24-30, Jesus is giving a pastoral illustration of what the kingdom of heaven is like. In the story, a farmer plants wheat seeds in a field. That night the farmer's enemy plants weeds in among the good seed. As the wheat seeds grow, the weeds also grow.

One day, the farmer's servants notice that there are weeds in the field and figure they better let the farmer know. When the farmer learns the bad news and realizes that his enemy is to blame, the servants ask if they should pull up the weeds.

Now, you would think that the finale of this story is that the farmer nods in agreement, the weeds get pulled, and the good wheat is free to grow without the distraction of bad seed to crowd it out and steal light and nutrients.

But that is not what happens. In fact, the farmer lets the weeds stay in the garden. And why would a farmer let the weeds continue to grow, knowing that weeds could overtake the garden and choke out the good plants? His answer is astonishing: "You'll hurt the wheat if you do." The farmer goes on to say, "Let both grow together until the harvest. Then I will tell the harvesters to sort out the weeds and burn them and to put the wheat in the barn" (Matt. 13:29-30).

Perhaps you are thinking, So what? I am no agricultural major. I don't garden, I am not a farmer, and I don't plant seed. But the truth is that this story is all about you. Jesus represents the farmer. We Christians are the good, wheat seeds planted firmly in the garden of this world. Our enemy, Satan, has planted among us the weeds of worldly pleasures, deception, doubt, strife, anger, bitterness, greed, pride, and even some of his own personal cronies, the worst demons of his kingdom.

With that in mind, let's go back to verse 29: "You will hurt the wheat." Did you read that? If the distracting and parasitic weeds are yanked from the field, guess what is going to suffer? If you guessed the weeds, you are wrong. The wheat is going to suffer. That means you and me.

My first instinct is to scratch my head and ask, Why? Because in my mind, if I were free from distractions, adversity, and an enemy close at hand, I would figure that I would grow better, stronger, and more hardy. I could be a super Christian and do everything right.

Tell me, honestly, when do you most seek God? When are you most desperate for Him? When times are good, or when you are facing doubtful, scary circumstances?

It isn't that we don't thank God when He is good to us. When things are going our way, we don't automatically forget about the Lord. But most often true growth happens when we are forced to rely on Him. And we are forced to rely on God when our sustenance is being threatened by those rotten weeds. We begin to rethink things when suddenly our joy and strength and provision are being choked out.

It takes weeds sometimes for us to also come face to face with our true heart condition. We thought we were kind and giving and loving individuals. Then Warren Weed and his extensive family invaded our space. All of a sudden, we are feeling cramped and crabby. All that Christian nicety is gone.

Let's, therefore, not disdain the hard times, the trials, the inconveniences. It is the garden we live and grow in, in this world, and it is ordained by God to mature us in Him. When we turn the weed-infested areas of our hearts and minds and circumstances over to God, putting our faith and reliance in Him, God will produce in us a hardy crop of wheat that will continue to thrive no matter where we are planted.

Comments? Send me an e-mail.

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