Don’t Keep Me Waiting Too Long
I have this ongoing connection to the full moon. Something about it constantly stirs in me a deep sense of expectation. This is probably a little bit dangerous, but regardless, the full moon will either be tonight or tomorrow night and I can feel it in my bones. There’s a achingness to the light that shines full into my bedroom window from that moon. It’s clarity and white light that’s nearly as bright as daylight was streaming in at 1am this morning. So much so that I had to get up and take a look. I pondered my old prayers again, and said how long, Lord, how long. My Psalm 40 is getting more worn as the days and years go by. However, even though I’m not always sure what it is that I’m waiting for, this verse from John 12.24 keeps appearing to me.
24″Listen carefully: Unless a grain of wheat is buried in the ground, dead to the world, it is never any more than a grain of wheat. But if it is buried, it sprouts and reproduces itself many times over.
24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.
24The truth is, a kernel of wheat must be planted in the soil. Unless it dies it will be alone–a single seed. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives.
24Most 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.
24I assure you, most solemnly I tell you, Unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains [just one grain; it never becomes more but lives] by itself alone. But if it dies, it produces many others and yields a rich harvest.
24verily, verily, I say to you, if the grain of the wheat, having fallen to the earth, may not die, itself remaineth alone; and if it may die, it doth bear much fruit;
24I tell you for certain that a grain of wheat that falls on the ground will never be more than one grain unless it dies. But if it dies, it will produce lots of wheat.
Interpret that. It ties in very much with what we were talking about at Queens Birthday. The cycle of life and death, growth & decline, building and taking down that is chronicled in Solomon’s reflection in Ecclesiastes. Wok proposed it as a valid cycle of ministry and life.
That under the pressure of a secularly-based, exponential time-profit ratio mindset, we have neglected the value that a death-conception-birth cycle brings to us. We look to borrow and adopt other people’s lifecycles in order to maintain our own.
But.. he says, based out of Ecclesiastes and observing creation all around us .. there must be cycles of barrenness, that lead us to desperation on our knees before God, that then allows for utter emptiness, then a new conception, the preparation for birth, the labour & birth itself (the hardest part beyond barrenness) and then the new life that follows. These ‘new lives’ then continue to grow and develop completing their own life cycles, that eventually end in decline as well. The struggle then, is realising that the cycles of barrenness to new life happen in small ways all over the place, especially in ministry environments, and to understand that they overlap each other. Different aspects of life take hold, while other things decline, only to be born again in new and different ways.
So.. in my life.. where is barrenness? Where is my Sarah-like desperation before God? It comes to me when the moon is full and I feel empty and hesitant, expectant and yearning. Longing for a deeper vision and deeper satisfaction. In letting go of dreams, in holding on to hope despite my weakness.
Lord, make me with the spirit of a barren woman
ever ready to pour out my oil, a vessel empty
and awaiting your gift
a dangerous prayer
for emptiness is dangerous territory
but with all my heart and soul
I entrust to you a seed
that is willing to lay down in the soil
and lay out it’s life
anticipating a less than easy death
but a restorative, worthwhile conception
help me, Lord
to lay down in the soil
and be buried
and also to die
not just go on living
in damp darkness