Buried or Planted?24 July, 2020
This week, two seemingly unrelated events converged on the same day and shed some light into what I’ve been pondering. I received two packs of seeds from the National Parks to grow some edible plants at home, even though I didn’t register for it. I remembered saying to myself grudgingly, “Great! Now I’ve got to find some soil to plant those seeds.” Later that evening, I watched a war movie where the opening scene centred around a small group of US Marines at the cemetery in a sombre mood, surrounding the lowered casket of their fallen comrade.
The next scene showed the soldiers shovelling soil onto the casket, and then it struck me – burial looks no different from planting. Both require some digging and the ‘objects’ are hidden underground, covered with soil. However, for one, death means new life has just begun while the other has reached its end. One has a destiny, the other doesn’t.
You bury the dead as a form of closure but, when you plant a seed, it goes through a transformation of coming back ‘up’ greater than it was when it went ‘down’. For example, the mango seed is never bigger than the tree it’s meant to become. Yet within that seed contains the ‘greatness’ of the tree! Every God-given vision begins with a seed, so ‘do not despise the day of small beginnings’ (Zechariah 4:10).
When life ‘piles’ on you with difficult and trying situations – increasing stress at work, pressure from bosses, loss of a job or a business deal, a broken relationship, an untimely illness, death of a loved one, or an unexplainable spiritually dry season, you can’t help but feel like you’ve been buried – especially when some of these come at you all at once. You watch others making progress in their pursuits while you seem to be regressing in yours.
Or, you could be going through some dealings of the Lord – as you surrender and yield to Him, and as you start getting right with God and making amends with people; sometimes these postures may make you look soft and weak, almost like digging your own grave, especially in today’s ‘dog-eat-dog’ world.
But, just when the enemy thinks he has buried you, he’s actually helping to plant a seed. When the enemy tries to bury you with fear and intimidation, close your eyes and tell yourself, “I’m a seed in God’s hands”. And, as you keep the life of God in you, you’ll go in as a seed but come out as a fruitful tree – ‘trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.’ (Isaiah 61:3)
For me, one area I can get buried by the enemy is in my mind. If I start entertaining those thoughts of accusations and negativity, I can get ‘buried’ within 5 mins. But here’s what I’ve learnt – you can’t get buried unless you cooperate. I’m not a dead corpse, I’m a living seed. What I allow, I give power to. That’s why we must ‘take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.’ (2 Corinthians 10:5) and channel our thoughts to love God ‘with all my heart, with all my soul, with all my strength, and with all my mind.’ (Luke 10:27)
One of the recent hot topics in our church has been about dreams. It’s so wonderful to hear of people having dreams from the Lord and others being encouraged by what was shared with them. The enemy will try to bury us with chaos in life so that we’ll have difficulty eating or sleeping well, thereby losing the ability to dream. Bill Johnson shared this powerful revelation about dreams (paraphrased), “The enemy is most afraid when God’s people are having dreams. He’s so afraid that you’ll be in such a place of rest that you’ll reflect God’s nature through your dreams. He’s terrified that the Creator would create again, through you.”
Sometimes, the feeling of being concealed underground can be overwhelming. It’s dark and lonely, and heaven feels like brass. But, being under doesn’t mean it’s over. Sometimes God uses moments of silence to call us deeper in our faith. You may be praying for God to ‘save you’ when perhaps His intention is to ‘sustain you’ through this difficult time instead, to reveal a side of Him you never knew before. Psalm 46:10 puts it this way, ‘Be still, and know that I am God…’
The next time you go through a difficult time in your life, and you can’t ‘see’ your way out of it; keep your eyes on the Lord and remember, you’ve been planted, not buried.
Pastor Kevin Koh