By Ashley Cook
I was recently listening to a worship set online, and the pastor came on to exhort the congregation before the set began. He mentioned something about seeds, and this got me thinking about the way seeds are watered and how they grow.
I’ve recently been in a simultaneous season of great joy, growth, and disappointment.
I know God is a God who gives, and I know He’s a God who takes away, but what happens in that season of taking away? How do I posture my heart when something I love is taken away? What does it mean to discipline my heart and go through the process of growth and being taught again?
Seeds lie dormant before they are placed in soil and covered. They are already filled with nutrients and everything they need in order to grow completely and wholly into the flowers they are meant to become.
Seeds need repeated watering and fertilizing order for the first roots to grow deep into the soil. Seeds also need a little over twelve hours of light in order to grow tall. If they get too little light, they will grow to be weak. However, I think the most interesting thing I learned was that in order for them to grow correctly, they also need darkness apart from the twelve-plus hours of light. The darkness ensures that the seeds get a time of rest before they are placed back into the light.
Jesus was placed on the cross, and for three days there was darkness, but on the third day He rose and walked out of the grave. God the Father knew this was the way. Jesus knew it, and yet He still asked if there was any other way.
“He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, knelt down and prayed, saying ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours be done.’ And there appeared to him an angel from heaven, strengthening him. And being in agony he prayed more earnestly; and his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.” (Luke 22:42-43, ESV)
The cross, the darkness, the resurrection, this was always the purpose of the Father. Jesus sweat blood in agony despite knowing this was His purpose! I forget often that it was in the darkness where the miracle happened. When I sit here and remember, that makes me want to rejoice for the seasons of darkness and disappointment.
I was recently asked to step down from something I love to do. I had been talking with God about taking a break a month prior, so it didn’t come as a very big surprise when I was asked and encouraged to work on a few things for a couple of quarters. While I knew it was coming and the way it was presented to me was encouraging and graceful, the stinging disappointment naturally came, and I left feeling a little bent and in the dark.
Quickly though, I remembered that it is in the darkness where Jesus does the redeeming work of growth.
When I look at the way His death and resurrection took place, I stand in awe that even then, being placed in the dark can hold purpose and meaning. It was in Jesus’ darkness where the most beautiful transformation and miracle happened. In the same way, it’s in this darkness where Jesus might be able to do the most transformational and miraculous work in me so that when it comes time to sprout again, I will bear fruit that is cultivated from practicing discipline in the dark.
Sometimes the most important growing happens in the dark. When we plant a seed somewhere in the soil, we must water it every day like a discipline of the heart, especially if this seed happens to be a gift.
While light is required for growth, it is not the most necessary piece in the growing process. The resting time — the period where there is no light — is.
Hey, there! I’m Ashley Cook. I love Jesus and believe that we all have a capacity to start somewhere. I love to travel, write, drink coffee, and worship. I’ve currently placed roots in a vibrant community of believers in New Hampshire. After graduating from college in 2015, I traveled to twelve countries in eleven months doing mission work and spreading the Gospel. My current claim to fame is having tripped into a fountain in India. I have a heart for sinners, the broken, and the lost, and I desire for everyone to be seen, known, and loved. There is a love so deep that’s offered to everyone, even you! When you know this love, it changes everything. I’m so glad you’re here. You can visit me at my blog, http://acperennial.com.