I'm Sorry, but I dropped my Mustard Seed

31He told them another parable: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. 32Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches." – Matthew 13: 31-32

19Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, "Why couldn't we drive it out?" 20He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you."[a]- Matthew 17:19-21

I had dinner with my dear friend Krystal Saturday night. She is one of the most genuine honest souls I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She has been a far dear friend to me than ever I have been to her, and that is a rare treasure for me. There is a great kinship between us. A trust that is so rare to find in most relationships. It comes from the great lack of BS that can often accompany a relationship. She is a treasure and I hold her as such.

We were sharing on a soul deep level. I love when I’m able to really do that with someone. It is a rarity. She was talking about finishing up Bible courses. The college she attends requires her to double major in whatever field of study she is going into and Bible. We got on the subject that you can believe how you wish as long as it aligns with the professors views. This led to an even deeper discussion on faith. She had been going through some difficult things and was often met with the old familiar adage of “pray harder” or “have faith”. Then she said, “You know that ‘mustard seed’ Melissa. I think I lost it.” I made a joke about it falling out while hiking -- what she was doing earlier in the day for school.

Above is a link that gives a little more information on the actual mustard seed. After Krystal and I had our little chat I started to think about how difficult and detailed the process must be for a tiny, itty-bitty mustard seed to grow into a large mustard plant. The process of death for this little seed, if it could feel, must be excruciatingly painful. Yet, the result is a beautiful yielding product. So it is with our lives. This life is not only beautiful, exciting, and satisfying…all to often it can be painful, ugly, heartbreaking, and completely and totally unsatisfying.
I know some very well intentioned people who have said to me, “Melissa, just pray. Believe more. Try harder.” I know that these things are meant to comfort but I feel like saying, “Bite Me!” “I’m here lying on the floor with the deepest recesses of soul open, exposed, and bleeding out, and your talking about mustard seeds.” We, so often as Christians, believe that a life filled with prosperity and good things is a life that has found favor with God.

Job, Paul, the disciples, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Moses, Noah…all found favor with God and look what happened to them.

We often look at the homeless and say, “There but for the grace of God…” Well, what if the grace of God is the reason they are homeless. It might mean that their grace is a result of our graciousness or, dare I say it, we might learn a thing or two about grace from them.
We want to feel safe and secure. We all want a life that is virtually pain free. This, however, is rarely the case with things. When Christ talks about his yoke being easy and his burden light (Matthew 11:30) he never mentioned anything about an easy road of it. I mean look at those two words: 1. yoke 2. burden

Webster’s Definition of Yoke:
1a: a wooden bar or frame by which two draft animals (as oxen) are joined at the heads or necks for working together b : an arched device formerly laid on the neck of a defeated person

Webster’s Definition for Burden:
1 a : something that is carried : load b : duty, responsibility2 : something oppressive or worrisome3 a : the bearing of a load —usually used in the phrase beast of burden b : capacity for carrying cargo

Matthew 17: 19-21, where Jesus is telling the disciples that if they have faith of a mustard seed they can move mountains didn’t come out of thin air. Jesus didn’t just come up to them and say, “okay guys, you ready to see something awesome, try this…” Everything that Jesus taught the disciples had great meaning. He was the greatest teacher in the world.

Whose power were the disciples trying to drive the demons out with?

It looks like to me it was their own. Jesus wasn’t saying, “alright if you believe hard enough this mountain will move.” He was saying, “Your focus is all wrong. Your faith is in the wrong direction. If you place your faith in me, and guys it doesn’t have to be much, look what I’ll do through you. There will be nothing you cannot do.”

I love these well intentioned people who say, “pray harder, believe harder…good will come to you.” Well, what if it doesn’t? What then?

This is when you get the evil eye. This is when you are judged for not having enough faith. These are the people that will find it hard that Krystal and I were joking about losing our mustard seed…not our faith mind you, our mustard seed.

Let me be very clear, just because hard times come to you, just because you are faced with trouble and despair and you feel like all faith is lost, and all your prayers are falling on deaf ears. This does not mean that God does not love you any less. It does not mean that you are not under his blanket of grace and mercy or in His favor. It often means that Christ wants you…He wants all of you (He is a very jealous God), so He is doing what he does best, and that is a great deal of pruning.

My hope is that I will never look at someone else suffering and bleeding to feed my puffed up sense of self-worth to God…”at least I ain’t as bad as that guy.”

May I suggest that if someone ever says that they’ve lost their mustard seed that you go and help them find it. Then, help them plant and water it.

Faith is a process. Each time we believe a little more. The mustard seed soon grows into the mustard plant. We flourish under the touch of the tender Gardener. We truly do become unstoppable. However, it is a muscle we must flex. We cannot be afraid to walk out on the waves with Him…we have to be willing to let ourselves go.

I will leave you with this. Change is painful but meaningful. I love CS Lewis. Particularly the Chronicles of Narnia. My favorite book in the series save the last one is “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader.” I unfortunately find a lot of myself in poor Eustace. Questioning everything not believing anything. Aslan comes to him when he is a dragon and tells him he can bathe in the beautiful pool, but he must undress first. Eustace goes through several layers of scales until finally Aslan steps in…

“Then the lion said—but I don’t know if it spoke—‘You will have to let me undress you.’ I was afraid of his claws, I can tell you, but I was pretty nearly desperate now. So I just lay flat down on my back to let him do it.

“The very first tear he made was so deep that I thought it had gone right into my heart. And when he began pulling the skin off, it hurt worse than anything I’ve ever felt. The only thing that made me able to bear it was just the pleasure of feeling the stuff peel off. You know—if you’ve ever picked a scab of a sore place. It hurts like billy-oh but it is such fun to see it coming away…

“Well, he peeled the beastly stuff right off—just as I thought I’d done it myself the other three times, only they hadn’t hurt—and there it was lying on the grass…Then he caught hold of me—I didn’t like that much for I was very tender underneath now that I’d no skin on—and threw me into the water. It smarted like anything but only for a moment. After that it became perfectly delicious and as soon as I started swimming and splashing I found that all the pain had gone from my arm. And then I saw why. I’d turned into a boy again…

“After a bit the lion took me out and dressed me—“
(pgs. 109-110/Voyage of Dawn Treader/Lewis)

Change and faith are beautiful and painful. Sometimes it hurts to believe and to trust but oh is it worth it.


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