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Sunday, October 17, 2010

FAITH - A GARDENER'S PERSPECTIVE

When we plant seeds in the ground, we don't keep digging to find out if they have germinated. We wait expectantly for proof of germination - new shoots.

Similarly, there's a propagation method called air layering, where we make a cut into the branch of a plant, cover it with soil and seal it up with a PVC covering. We then wait for roots to appear.

While waiting, we get on with other things. We don't stop all activity because we're waiting. We continue with our normal duties.

Some seeds take days to germinate; others months. As for air layering, we cannot expect new roots before one month.

Therefore, when we ask anything of our Father in heaven, we should not make our period of waiting an ordeal. We know that He will answer, so we should get busy with other things, while thanking Him for answering our prayer.

Just like the gardener does not dig up the seed to check if it is germinating; nor does he remove the PVC covering to check for new roots, so should we stop asking God for the same thing over and over again.

I came accross a sermon by someone which said "Hannah sought God for a child and was reassured by Eli that her prayers had been answered. In faith, she accepted Eli's word, and went home to wait for the miracle. When she returned to the temple with the evidence of the miracle walking beside her, she cannot help but glorify God by pointing out His Power, Authority and His Nature. "He is a God who raises the poor from the dust, and the needy from the garbage dump. He sets them among princes, even the princes of his own people! He gives the childless woman a family, making her a happy mother. Praise the LORD". (Psalm 113:7-9)

Several times this year, God has had to remind me of this because sometimes I approach Him with a lot of doubt and repetitive requests. he reminds me that I am digging up the soil to check, and I quickly repent. My most vulnerable moments are when I'm about to wake up, in that state between sleep and wakefulness. The first thing on my mind when I wake up therefore is to ask again, and He gently reminds me. I thank God for His mercy, and pray that I will be able to drive the thought awas as soon as they start creeping in.

YES, I'LL SING THE WONDROUS STORY

This year, I rediscovered my love for reading and decided to re-read the classics I had read in my youth. I chose Tolstoy's Anna Karenina which I knew that I had enjoyed reading, but really couldn't remember much about it.

I learnt that reading some book as a youth when your whole life is before you and you haven't made too many mistakes is different from reading it as an adult. In my first life, I judged Anna really harshly; however, on reading the book again, I found that I could understand her position.

The shock was that I would never have classed the book as a religious book. However, Anna Karenina ends thus:

'This new feeling has not changed me, has not made me happy and enlightened all of a sudden, as I had dreamed, just like the feeling for my child. There was no surprise in this either. Faith—or not faith—I don't know what it is—but this feeling has come just as imperceptibly through suffering, and has taken firm root in my soul.


"I shall go on in the same way, losing my temper with Ivan the coachman, falling into angry discussions, expressing my opinions tactlessly; there will be still the same wall between the holy of holies of my soul and other people, even my wife; I shall still go on scolding her for my own terror, and being remorseful for it; I shall still be as unable to understand with my reason why I pray, and I shall still go on praying; but my life now, my whole life apart from anything that can happen to me, every minute of it is no more meaningless, as it was before, but it has the positive meaning of goodness, which I have the power to put into it."
 
One of the main characters has just discovered that there is a God afterall, and this is what he has to say about his realisation.
 
Isn't this what happens to some of us when we get converted. There really is no Damascus moment, but a surrender and an acceptance, and by faith we know that we've been saved.
 
In conclusion, in the English Methodist Hymn Book, verse four of Hymn No 380 sums it up:
" Days of darrkness still come o'er me,
Sorrow's path I often tread,
But His presence still is with me;
By His guiding hand I'm led.
Yes, I'll sing the wondrous story
Of the Christ who died for me,
Sing it with the saints in glory,
Gathered by the crystal sea'.
 
Remain blessed.