Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Loving the Weeds

This season the rains brought incredible relief from the dry & hot months of Jan-Feb. We waited, expectantly, and we rejoiced as a family to be able to plow and hoe in our garden, mix our fertilizers (compost, chicken and cow manure), plant our seeds, and then deal with our weeds. Weeds!?!

Okay, we have not enjoyed dealing with our weeds. In fact, I loathe weeding; most people do. I hate that part of the curse. I'd rather just enjoy watching everything grow: cilantro, tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, watermelon, green beans, black beans, carrots, beets, corn, and sweet potatoes. And the more I plant, the more weeding is needed. 

It reminds me of the parable in Matthew 13 where an enemy sewed weeds into a field of wheat. Instead of pulling up the weeds, however, the master declared that they must grow together until the harvest. Wheat and Weeds growing to maturity side by side? And this, Jesus says, is a picture of the kingdom of heaven; sons and daughters of God growing to maturity alongside sons and daughters of the evil one (vs. 37-39).

As I look around the villages here, I am surrounded by pain, suffering, disease, and death. I see great evil oppressing and enslaving people, holding them in bondage, wounding children and destroying men and women. I see witchcraft, drunkenness, abuse, neglect, HIV, fatherlessness, crime, and injustice. Do I ever despair? Do I hide or want to run away from it all? Honestly, at times, "Yes!"

And in all of this bleakness, I know there is more that I do not see.

But then I am reminded that as the darkness grows to maturity, as the weeds seem to be overtaking the crop, God's kingdom is growing to maturity right alone side of it all. In fact, in the mystery of God, He has ordained that it is through the weeds, through the trials and persecutions, through the sufferings and struggles, that His church grows to maturity.

And in all of this promise, I know there is more that I do not see.

The fatherless are made fatherless no more, widows are protected and defended, the broken are made whole, and enslaved hearts are set free. There is grace. There is joy. There is love. There is life. Where God's people dwell, the darkness is dispelled.

In the beauty of mystery, I am not only called to put up with the weeds, but I am called to love them, to reach out to them, to live the grace of God before them, and in Jesus' name to lay down my life for them. 

The Gospel is for the wheat and the weeds, the "good news" for the world. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus died for weeds like me, and through His power He transforms weeds into glorious wheat (non-GMO of course).

I better go out to my garden and give my crops and my weeds some attention. I think I love weeds after all. 

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