This whole thing of flinging our seed into the soil, not altogether sure about how it will land or where it will land…is an act of faith. Truth be told, once that seed lands, there’s not one thing we can do to ensure its growth. We can water it, pray for enough sun, and ask God to hold back the frost, but apart from that – nada. Nothing to do.
The seed sinks down, down into the soil and finds its place. Night comes. Night, the time when it is difficult to see and sensory distractions are limited. Dark, when even normal fixtures can take on scary shapes. Silence, because the world gives way to its limitations and must go off duty to sleep. Waiting for those who cannot sleep. Waiting for the morning which will surely come, but not for a while. Night. Dark. Silence. Waiting.
It’s precisely when God works.
“God’s kingdom is like seed thrown on a field by a man who then goes to bed and forgets about it. The seed sprouts and grows—he has no idea how it happens. The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain.”
–Mark 4:26-28 MSG
Story after story reminds us of this truth. When the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, the Lord held back the sea in the dark watches of the night. I can imagine the fierceness of the wind, the wetness in the air, and a volume of water they can’t really define because it’s still dark. Yet, they will walk through it. Not until the next morning – when the sun comes back up – do they truly see what God has done.
In 2 Kings 19:14-36, Hezekiah is surrounded by the Assyrian army. He has no hope of getting out. No hope of surviving a siege. His life is absolutely in danger. He goes to the Lord in prayer. The following day they discover that an angel of the Lord has slain the entire army, 185 000 of them.
The Lord will bring about the good. The Lord will bring about our survival. He will orchestrate our rescue. He will grow us our food. Because he loves us.
That’s how the kingdom of God works. That’s who God is. Love.
So, we will walk out each day to see what there is to see. Any signs of life yet? Any little cloud that might turn into rain? No? Then we will wait…patiently for the Lord. We will go look again tomorrow, and the day after that, and the next day too…by faith…because we know God works through the night. Out of all the seeds we throw, we don’t know which seed will grow and which will not. But we do know this: the Master Gardener will lovingly labor all through the night, and the next night, and all the nights after that to bring about Life in our seeds.