Faith (that’s her name) loves Jesus and trusts him as wholeheartedly as I have ever seen a living human do. At age 82, she travels to Bangladesh to help run the mission orphanage, clinic and women’s work center. In a conversation with her, she told me of a story representative of the difficulties that they face. She had flown in from the States and was taking the 6-8 hour drive to the mission. Dead tired, she fell asleep on the bus. In a panic, her companions woke her when their bus came to a halt. A rioting crowd had seized the bus ahead of them and set it on fire. Faith’s response was that she had nothing else to offer them as Jesus was in control of the situation and begged to go back to sleep. Long and short of it was that they got to the mission safely. Deep down, I want my friend’s incredible trust and love for Jesus. I want faith like hers.
“The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.” Matthew 13:31-32
It’s no accident that the parable of the mustard seed is preceded by parables about the Sower and the Weeds. My friend and I have been given the mustard seed of faith. She’s tended her garden well over the years. Her faith has grown into an incredible tree that offers shelter to widows and orphans. Jesus is alive and well in her corner of Bangladesh. Her life and the words of Jesus challenge me to look at the “soil” of my life.
What weeds and rocks need to go? What’s in the garden that resists growth? Maybe it’s a quick fix: too much tv, too much time on the internet (pull the plug). Maybe it’s more deeply rooted weeds: self pity, envy or judgement. Maybe it’s something more along the lines of what Joseph had to let go of: bitterness and pain. I am sure is looks differently for each one of us. Whatever it is, I want those obstacles to growth exposed and out so that there is more room for wonder of God’s grace at work. May it be so.