When Things Are Out of Our Hands
"I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth." 1 Corinthians 3:6 (NASB)
Smudges of the rich soil lingered on our arms. Arching our aching backs, we surveyed our work. Although out of sight underground, the seeds planted held great potential. Hours of planning, mixing the just-right soil, and building our raised garden beds were complete. We did what we could. What those vegetable seeds decided to do after that was out of our hands.
There have been other times when God did something that was out of my hands. Circumstances I had no say over, but He spoke life into. Relationships I couldn't control, but He had under His authority.
Javier and I were neighbors in college more than a decade ago. Our roommates dated, so naturally we hung out often. We cooked dinner. Spent lazy afternoons watching movies. Cheered next to each other at football games. When I took guitar lessons, Javier taught me chords. Despite all this time together, I'm sorry to say I rarely brought the Lord up in conversation.
Since graduating, Javier and I have kept in touch sporadically over the last twelve years. When he sent this email a while back, I was amazed.
Sam, I just wanted to thank you for being in my life in college. I came to Christ about four years or so ago and when looking back in my life, I think of people that were examples I wanted to follow.
Even though we hardly talked about God, I knew you were a Christian and really admired that about you. Talk about planting a seed that didn't bear fruit right away. Ten years in the making. I am glad I am able to tell people who helped me find Christ how important they were. ~Javier
Never would I have imagined my quietness would speak so loud. Our key verse teaches if we are faithful to sow into others, God will be faithful to make our seeds bear fruit: a relationship with Him.
Have you been praying for a loved one's salvation? Or seeking God's favor to restore your child, parent, spouse or sibling to Him?
Maybe you've done all you can do. Planted every seed you can think of. Gotten on your knees. Shared verses. Forwarded email devotions. Gifted Bibles and books. Sent worship CDs. Yet no sprout is appearing from the hard ground of their heart.
I wish I had a 5-Step Planting Program to refer you to. Wish I could say you should do what I did with Javier. Invited him to Bible study. Or welcomed him to prayer group. Or learned the latest worship song on the guitar together. Maybe even related my favorite scripture to our school studies.
While these are wonderful, they weren't the seeds I planted in college. Instead, I simply lived out my daily relationship with Jesus. Some days my example was a bit more stellar than others, but for better or worse, seeds were planted. Day-to-day Javier saw me just quietly trusting in the Lord; hoping in His divine interventions; finding joy in His character.
I don't know how much you've prayed, or what seeds you've planted, on behalf of your loved one. I do know this: when we quietly, consistently, faithfully plant seeds, the Lord will honor that. He will bring others around our loved one to water the seeds we've sown. And most importantly, He will make them grow. When the results are out of our hands, we can trust them in His.
Dear Lord, thank You for caring about my loved one's salvation even more than I do. Please use me to plant seeds into their life, bring others to water it, and I ask that You cause it to grow. In Jesus' Name, Amen.
Reflect and Respond:
Is there someone you have prayed to come to salvation for years? Re-read Javier's email and take heart. Seeds take time to grow. Keep praying. Our God is the God of hope (Romans 15:13).
Perhaps it's time to follow up with that person if you don't talk to them regularly.
Who in your life doesn't know the Lord? What seed can you plant that could be part of their salvation story?
Matthew 5:16, "In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven." (NIV)
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