During my freshman year of college I was given an assignment in my Expository Writing class. We were to write a descriptive essay—I had lost my father to a car accident just one year prior and had been coping by writing poems and journal entries…so this time I chose to write specifically regarding the car accident.
I would describe the accident in detail. I felt like I needed to, in order to process the reality and maybe to help push through the flashbacks. I needed the whole thing to just make sense in my mind.
I completed the assignment, handed it in, and went on to receive an ‘A’. I felt very connected to that writing, but eventually it was physically misplaced. Throughout the years, the absence of that paper has caused me some distress.
Now ever since I was a teen I’ve been storing collectibles, pictures, and memorabilia in a cedar chest my parents bought me for my sixteenth birthday.
Last year I rummaged through that large wooden box as I have many other times, only this time I came across a folder that hadn’t been opened for years. I peered inside and much to my surprise I came across writings—journal entries from that college Expository Writing class.
Tucked between all of those papers was one rough draft I had kept—a rough draft of that descriptive essay I had written so many years before, describing our family’s car accident. It wasn’t the final copy I had turned in for a grade, but it was still a copy, so I settled and decided it’d have to do.
However I couldn’t bring myself to read it, so I placed it safely back in that sweet chest that contains so many other keepsakes. Throughout the past year I’d only just imagined the words to those pages until the other day when I finally pulled the papers out once again.
This time I read word-for-word.
I paid particular attention to the fact that my writing style hasn’t changed much since then. Even though that paper was written nearly sixteen years ago and I had gone several years without writing, it still very much reflected my current writings.
I read and read and finished page two and went on to page three, where I described the moment our van came to rest, bottom side up—the scene where my hands met the hot pavement of the highway as I crouched low pulling myself from the mangled vehicle.
But then the words ended and I realized the rough draft I held in my hands had never been finished…
I felt empty—here was this writing that I had longed to read and had apprehensively gathered the courage to finally do so. And now it fell desperately short of fulfilling my hopes.
My sole purpose in reading that essay was to see the ending.
I wanted to discover if I made any mention of God or had my faith really been as shallow as I remember it being. Did I praise him for keeping me safe? Did I thank him for sparing my mom’s life and my little brother’s? Did I lash out at Him for the loss of my dad? And now I’d never know…
During those teenage years, during the time of the accident and writing that paper I was living life all wrong.
I believed Jesus was God’s Son and that He died for my sins. I even called myself a Christian, BUT when I look back at those years the most prevalent memories are those of selfishness and carelessness, played out in the choices I was making—complete neglect to Christ even though I knew better.
Having been able to read the end of that paper would have shown me if the memories I have of those years really did follow a naive faith…Or maybe the ending would have made just even the slightest reference to Jesus, alleviating some of the guilt I’ve felt for not following Him faithfully and willingly when I should have been during those messy years.
Either way my feelings were as incomplete as the rough draft I held in my hands.
I scanned over the papers again and then finally read over the notes and phrases I had jotted in the margins. (when I write, my rough drafts always include extra words in the margins, all of which inevitably find their way into the final copy)
I came to a quote that I had scrawled across the top margin of one of the pages. I finished reading the words through a haze of blissful tears.
The quote read: ‘The shortest distance between a problem and a solution is the distance between your knees and the floor. The one who kneels to the Lord can stand up to anything.’ – author unknown
…It was no longer important for me to read the ending to that descriptive essay. I had come across what I had hoped for.
Even though there were so many weeds in my life at that time—a tragedy, poor choices, and selfish living rooted deep within me I still must have held onto a small seed of faith that someone had planted in my heart long ago.
Reminiscing my teen years, I remember only a mess, but the fact that I acknowledged the importance of God when I wrote that paper in the midst of chaos revealed something different… Why else would I have had those words penciled across the top of that paper?
Seeds of faith (God’s word) had been planted in me all those years ago, even though I was oblivious to what God was doing or going to do years later.
Seeds of faith, no matter the size, are powerful and can grow and accomplish amazing things when we allow God to work in our lives.
(Read Mark ch.4 for more on seeds and to see what type of soil you are in your faith..very eye opening)
Exposure to God’s word, His message, can be compared to a seed planted in soil—someone has planted the seed, maybe another believer has watered it, but God causes it to grow through our obedience to Him. 1st Corinthians 3:6-7
After coming across that quote in the rough draft of my college descriptive essay I had mixed feelings…That evening I looked at my husband and said, “I don’t get it, I don’t understand how out of all the opportunities I had to follow Christ much sooner than I did, why did I wait so long?”
With humble, compassionate words my husband gently responded, “Alicia, don’t you realize when God saved you, he had others in mind? If you would have come to Christ as a teenager I might not have been saved.” …
KNOW THIS, I am not at all promoting that anyone should ever hold off coming to Christ for any reason, nor does God condone ill behavior or choices in a believer for the sake of reaching the unsaved. 2nd Corinthians 6:14-15.
BUT when my husband and I were dating as teenagers, he was even farther away from having a relationship with Christ than I was. Had I been saved earlier, our high school relationship may have fizzled out and my husband may have never accepted Christ, like he eventually did.
I don’t fully understand it, but God worked it all out for his glory. When my husband and I finally came to Christ in our late twenties (together) it was all God’s perfect timing. He used the whole situation in a way that brought glory to Himself.
God continues to work in mine and my husband’s life. We choose to be obedient to His calling in our life, and ask for His guidance in planting seeds in others and in watering those seeds as well.
I may not remember the ending words in my college essay, but I do know that I’m fully grounded in my faith these days and it all began with a seed planted amongst a bed of messy soil.
…So I finish this writing with two thoughts for you:
1) When God saved you, who else did he have in mind? Or have you allowed Him to save you?
2) Plant seeds of faith, the Word of God, in someone’s heart—it could be your very own spouse, son or daughter, parents, sibling, or a friend who has never had that seed planted….and then water that seed or perhaps allow someone else to, and then leave the growing to God.
Paul writes in his letter to the Corinthians in chapter 3 verse 7, ‘It’s not important who does the planting or watering, what’s important is that God makes the seed grow.’
ULTIMATELY the seed must be planted and watered before it will grow.
With Spring and Easter among us won’t you obediently allow God to grow your faith by seeking His will…attend a church service, dig into His word, know and grow in Him….and check out Mark ch.4 to see what type of soil you are!
Prayer: God, thank you that through a small seed, you grow something beautiful through our obedience to you. Help me to remove the weeds in my life to uncover your fruit—living and growing in me. Amen.
But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22-23a
but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Romans 5:8