Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. ~ John 12:24
Death produces life.
The seed goes deep into the ground for a season, hidden from view and pressed on all sides, sometimes stepped on, sometimes crushed. Hidden there through the pounding rain, frozen snow and relentless sun for a season, until the hard outer shell begins to soften and crack, letting the life within spill forth. First comes the root, pushing deeper down still.
Because down is the only way up. Humility before honor, faith before sight, death before life, on your face before on the platform.
We’re terrified of the dark but the dark is where the growth happens. The dark is where we learn humility and it’s where we learn to trust.
But the best part of the dark is this: It’s where we learn, slowly for most of us, to hear His voice.
The dark is very, very quiet and the perfect setup for hearing the still, small voice. On our faces, not knowing why, continuing to press in and press on when none of it makes sense, that’s where we begin to hear. Deep calling unto deep. His deep calls to the deepest part of me and I hear it when l I surrender to the dark.
The seed gains nourishment from pushing its roots deep into the ground, into the hidden life, taking sustenance up by the roots and transforming it into green leaves. Life breaks through hard ground and what looked dead and useless, a hard seed, has died and cracked open and fed and lived again. The vibrant green shoots shine in marked contrast to the hard, dark soil. But without the hard dark soil, there is no growth.
But the fruit is this: life for death, nourishment for some, multiplied seeds for many.
Our acts of obedience, our willingness to go into darkness and obscurity to wait the flow of the seasons, the sound of His voice and the timing of His hand, this more than anything will change our world.
Where are the ones willing to go into to the dark place to hear the only voice worth listening to, to get down so low we can hear His deep calling to ours? We live in a world, over-saturated by the fake, the shallow, the ‘faux’, and we’re desperate for the authentic. We cry out for something, anything real, anyone who’s willing to pay the price and follow hard after God.
For one willing to be broken bread and poured out wine. Broken seed and food for many. Those who will go if called or stay if that’s what’s required.
We are so busy with our thoughts, ideas, and agendas. Our ‘good ideas’ and ‘good works’ leave us hollow because we forget God commanded us to stay far from the tree of good and evil. Because He knows the good is the enemy of the best. Always.
And we spin our wheels trying to be good when all along He’s calling us to die, to live the crucified life, following Him wherever He leads. To allow Him to put us into the ground where it’s dark and cold and lonely.
Because only there can we be transfigured into something new, nourishment for some and seed for many.
Kate Battistelli, author of Growing Great Kids, is a wife, a former Broadway actress, and the mom of Grammy nominated Christian contemporary artist Francesca Battistelli. She adores being Mimi to Francesca’s 2 children — 2 1/2-year-old Matthew Elijah and 10-month-old Audrey Jane. She blogs at www.KateBattistelli.com and is currently writing her second book The God Dare.