THE BIRTH OF SEEDS
I wrote the song Seeds in the summer of ‘14 when everything was in full bloom. The boxwoods in front of our house had new growth, our fledgling blueberry bushes had big succulent berries yet to be picked by the gray squirrels or Carolina Chickadees that typically sang in the tall sapwood branches each morning. Even the struggling butterfly bush in our yard played host to beautiful Yellow Tiger Swallowtails and Spreadwing Skippers. But one feature that stood out to me, above the abundant redbuds and crepe myrtles, above the trumpet vine and enchanting even vaporous lavender Wisteria was the Japanese Cherry tree I had planted about 5 years ago in a small cove carved out years ago when Debora and I first settled on the land behind Little Mountain. I planted this tree in the hope that it would bring a splash of brilliant color to our yard, and make Mama happy whenever she would look out the window. For four years though we saw no fruit. Certainly it grew and sprouted green leaves even, but no flower and no color ever sprang from its wiry branches—until this year.
I felt this new excitement that perhaps a small child might feel when they discover they were getting that special bicycle they’d been talking up to Mom and Dad for the last several months before their birthday. It was truly rewarding to see the beauty of this tree finally deliver on its promise, and for many a summer day I sat on the front steps’ splintered wood and just soaked in the wonder of its God-ordained beauty. But summer rains moved in with heavy rain, followed by Fall which brought that cold, sideways pelting rain. And with that came the dreary winter that sent me into a mild depression. I prayed hard for days looking out my kitchen window just beyond my framed stained-glass Bible verse of John 15:5 artistically reminding me of Yeshua’s enduring words “I am the vine, you are the branches”. I’m certain I realized the irony but failed to appreciate the timely wisdom in that moment as my attention was fixated on the almost suffocating grayness that crowded the spindly dormant branches packed in a gray cloud foam.
I remembered the lovely pink and white cherry blossoms that filled my eyes from summer, and reflected on those beautiful sunny days, only to watch it suffer and struggle and endure outside in those cold frigid rains of a most unsavory winter. I felt somehow almost sorry I had planted it. I even began to feel somehow partially responsible for its suffering. And then my thoughts drifted to wondering why would something so beautiful have to be subjected to things that are so harsh? After all LORD “what is the purpose of allowing something so beautiful to be beaten upon by such unforgiving elements with nowhere to run for shelter?
And there it was. Like a golden sun-ray burning the fog away that I had allowed to steal so much joy from my life. This was the soil of thought that the title track for my record was born. It wasn’t purposed by me. It was a stream of thought that haunted me; and the more I dwelled upon it the more it consumed me, intruding upon other songs I was in process of recording until I could refuse its demand for attention no longer. God had redirected my attention to a most important issue that seemed to first be about the study of trees, but this natural process like all things was simply a means The Father was using to open a spiritual door inside of me and to connect the dots.
God loves dreamers you know? Just ask Jacob and Joseph and Peter. He gives us these ideas, visions if you will. And with the small seed of faith we stretch out our limbs and God amazes us with beauty, and then we are thrust onto the anvil of adversity and plunged into the waters of doubt. This cycle of heat and hammering and drowning continues and in the midst we suffer loss, we lose our spiritual sight because our outer structure is falling away and everything inside of us screams to hold it together. Tossed inside the crucible of our tribulation we collide squarely with bitterness and resentment because looking around all we see are fair winds and following seas for our friends and neighbors who appear aloof and estranged from us. Fiery indignation burns down in our bowels and begins to eat at the root of our faith. Inwardly we curse and swear to outwardly maintain the appearance of peace because our pride, like a deranged sea captain refuses humility, never mind the fact that by this time we have begun listening to many voices competing for our attention as the howling winds over these deep waters grab at our soul. In the pursuit of a relentless struggle to keep our little raft afloat, the lashings dissolve, the planks separate and suddenly we realize we are absolutely, unequivocally powerless.
We’re powerless. Certainly there are things we can do right?; Things to give some sense of stability. But these are just tiny dams we build in an attempt to channel the tides of peace into the harbor of our little lives. But when the waves come, these temporary measures collapse, and we enter the real test of faith.
In order to experience the life YHVH intends, every single one of us must come to the place where we confess that our lives have become unmanageable. We are just not designed to do this thing apart from Him. But when we choose to get low, to die to our pride, to humble ourselves, to willingly empty ourselves of what we think we know, and then turn ourselves over to YHVH’s care, then wisdom, then understanding, then sanity with good counsel returns. But none of these things can make sense until we are willing to empty ourselves of all of these things that desire to keep us in bondage; Anger, resentment, desire to injure another person, wrath, bitterness, jealousy, selfish ambition, arrogance, a perverted mouth, and lying against the truth (Proverbs 8, Ephesians 4 & James chapter 3).
But once we willingly turn ourselves over to Him and His care, He restores us and shows us the way life was meant to be. Yeshua said, “And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me” - (Mark 8:34). It doesn’t sit well with our selfish minds does it? Most of us believe that hard work and proper planning will reap a life of comfort and happiness, but that’s not what God has called us to really, is it? We want to argue, but the more we entertain that argument, the quicker we place ourselves back upon that anvil of adversity. Because like our forbears Adam and Chava, we still entertain the thought that we know better how to live than the plan that our Father has prepared for us.
So we surrender, and when we come to the end of our crying and arguing and complaining we discover that our purpose, is to live in obedience to God’s plan—and suddenly faith sparks within and we become renewed with an eternal purpose, with His word scribed upon our once stony heart which is now determined to listen only to His voice and to fix our eyes upon Him and Him alone. Suddenly, our humiliation becomes the door to bring us to the holy of holies. And for all our tears we’ve cried, for all our childish tantrums we once clung to become lost in the reverence and in the awe of the beauty and love and wisdom of our Maker. “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding” (Proverbs 9:10 ).
With His love in our once rebellious heart suddenly we embrace the storm, we welcome the struggle, and we can find joy even in the midst of our pain. Because we don’t belong to ourselves, we belong to the one who created us in order to shine His glory rain or shine. “Praised be Adonai, Father of our LORD Yeshua the Messiah, who in the Messiah has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in heaven. In the Messiah he chose us in love before the creation of the universe to be holy and without defect in his presence. He determined in advance that through Yeshua the Messiah we would be his sons—in keeping with his pleasure and purpose” (Ephesians 1:3-5). We have been created for His pleasure and purpose. And His purpose for our lives is to have His Word inscribed upon our heart. But to what affect? To what end is having His word scored deep within us to accomplish? First John chapter two explains it well; “The one who says, “I have come to know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoever keeps His word, IN HIM THE LOVE OF GOD HAS TRULY BEEN PERFECTED. BY THIS WE KNOW THAT WE ARE IN HIM;” (1 John 2:4-5), and it is by His word that He has declared that “Light shall shine out of darkness.”
So there is this seed in John chapter 12, and here we read Yeshua declaring “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. He who loves his life loses it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it to life eternal” (John 12:24-25). Unless it dies… dies to what? Dies to itself, dies to it’s own plans and schemes, sets aside those things that are contrary to God’s truth, and finally embrace God’s truth. When we choose to obey God, and everyday, every moment, every decision we make is a test—we choose whether to lay our lives down for Him and bring a harvest, or to rebel and remain fallow. But if we choose to let Him have His way, then the seed revives! And we experience the living hope that Peter speaks about and that Paul speaks about and suddenly we are emotionally overwhelmed that our suffering really was an opportunity to let God demonstrate His redemption not just in our life but in the lives of those around us who did not seem to be watching, but were. YHVH be praised.
We’re dreamin’ big, we’re makin’ plans,
But sometimes the dream won’t wake and the, ship won’t come in.
And we think why? Wish I knew why?
There’s a cherry tree in my yard, out my front door
Pink petals stretch toward the sun—or blow in the storm
And I think why? Wish I knew why?
Bridge: Control is out of our hands, the more I choose to get low
The more I, understand
What if seeds refused to die? There’d be no fruit or flower
The bees all would die, the birds would live in underground
The sky would blister and we would live apart
Because the seed chose to obey its death brings life to all
And I ask why? Yes I ask why? It is love that is why, it is why
Let the rain fall down, let the rain fall down
LORD please faithfully plant me and I will grow (Repeat)
I will grow in the fear of The LORD
Yes I will grow in the fear of The LORD (Repeat)