The spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me;
He has sent me to bring good news to the afflicted,
to bind up the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
release to the prisoners,
To announce a year of favor from the Lord
and a day of vindication by our God;
To comfort all who mourn;
to place on those who mourn in Zion
a diadem instead of ashes,
To give them oil of gladness instead of mourning,
a glorious mantle instead of a faint spirit.
They will be called oaks of justice,
the planting of the Lord to show his glory. Isaiah 61: 1-3 NABRE
Some seeds take root in the ground. Some travel by air or water. They morph from seed to sprout to stem and grow leaves, then fruit.
A letter from a missionary family arrived a couple of weeks ago. It provided updates with lists of praises and prayer requests. It was one in a series of such letters over decades that tells the story of a family. The letters reveal the heart of their composer: a wife and mother–herself a seed who traveled on the wind and brought forth much fruit.
This missionary mom is a rare poetic spirit–walking us through the triumph of seeing souls come to Christ–and the tragedies of her two lost babes–one miscarriage and one newborn who lived about a day–and the more recent loss of a teenage son due to cancer.
She’s had her own physical ailments, yet her faith stands strong. She has no regrets. She and her family invested their lives planting seeds of faith.
The remnant of this traveling family–now a couple with their living, now grown children spread like seeds around the world–have come home. Planting not just seeds but also roots yet holding the earth around them loosely.
A young couple I met recently has two young children and are preparing for a life of seed cultivation on the other side of the planet. They hold the earth around them loosely. Sitting in their living room a few months ago, their plans unfolded for a simple Christmas and then the big move.
Christmas for the little ones involved only a few items that would travel easily. Like the older missionary family, they live holding onto little here.
The seed that is me grew in the soil under my feet. Having lived in the same house since 1977, my roots reached deep in this place. My leaves are the colors of autumn, no longer the green of spring. The seeds I produced sprouted in nearby ground.
In her letter, the elder missionary mother spoke of the offerings she will lay before God someday–the fruit of her life.
What we lay before Him cannot be what we’ve held tightly.
We’ll have only the fruit from seeds planted in loose soil. Seeds we pray the Lord will grow into mighty oaks of justice–His plantings. For His glory.
So let it be.