In a recent podcast with James, I mentioned the idea that God has given each of us seeds and we are all called to guard and till them in the garden of our souls. I wanted to share a little more about these thoughts, especially as they relate to the Parable of the Weeds and the Wheat found in Matthew 13:24-30.
The Eden of our hearts and marriages has good seed planted. But the “enemy came and sowed weeds” among them. Right now, in this season of our lives, there may be some bad weeds choking off what would have otherwise been a lush, verdant garden. The trauma of infertility may have caused particular types of weeds to grow in our hearts. As we recall from the parable, Jesus said, “an enemy has done this.” So, these weeds are there for now, but Jesus gives us some advice saying, “they shall grow together until the harvest.” At that time the householder will charge the reapers to “gather the weeds first…to be burned.”
Did you notice how He assumes the garden’s continued fertility despite the weeds?! There will still be a harvest of good things to come. It is also assumed that the rains and sun’s warmth will keep coming. Did you know that you, yes, you, are still considered fertile?! That the Lord will continue to bless, console, nourish, and strengthen you? Our reality is that good and bad seed are growing in our fertile being. So, what do we do right now in this difficult season of our lives?
We do our best to guard and till the soil around our sprouted wheat that was sown from good seed given to us by God. These good seeds are our relationships with ourselves, the Lord, our spouse, family, friends, mentors, brothers and sisters in faith, church, counselors, support groups, spiritual directors, as well as our talents, good habits, routines, joy, hope, faith, love, spiritual devotions, virtues, hobbies, acts of service, good advice and insights we have received, healing work, etc.. There are so many good seeds in your life! These are the things we continue to do our best to cultivate.
At the same time, we learn all about these seeds of the enemy that we are eventually going to gather and burn at the dawn of our personal harvest season. What kind of weeds are they growing in to? What are the specific names? These bad seeds could be disappointment, loss, sadness, hopelessness, depression, bitterness, jealousy, feeling lost, abandonment, trauma, pain, inadequacy, anger, woundedness, past or current abuse, addictions, bad habits, negativity, doom, etc… How do we extract these weeds? What tools do we need? Who can help us learn about them to better deal with them? These questions can be hard to answer at first, but it will get easier. It may be frustrating that we cannot pull all these weeds up all at once, but in this parable, the gardener lets the weeds and the wheat grow together until the time is right. So, while we may not be able to extract all these weeds right away, we can still be focusing on growing the best wheat we can from the good seed already taking root in the fertile soil of our souls.
In this parable, our loving Father assures us that, in time, our concerted efforts and reliance on His grace are everything we need to prepare for our own personal harvest season. I believe that the Lord, our loving Father, Creator and Provider has called all of us, those with children, and those without, to the same spiritual gardening of our inner Eden. For those of us not able to have children, let us consider that our Lord has especially hand-selected us to cultivate another kind of good seed that His flock desperately needs.
We are not in control of the seeds, but it is nonetheless worthwhile, special and Holy to learn about and patiently tend to them. We are blessed to work to grow the good seed we receive into a unique, lush, verdant home for both ourselves and other souls we encounter. When we guard and till, in time there will be fewer and fewer weeds to deal with in our inner garden. The world is filled with God’s children, ranging from infants to the elderly, who are in desperate need of fatherly and motherly attention. For reasons beyond our understanding, we are here in a special position to help provide for these, God’s children. After all, lost, weary, thirsting travelers are powerless to resist the beauty of a green, grassy, leafy oasis—and that fruitful oasis will one day be you! Together through Springs in the Desert, let us continue to water the fertile fields of our hearts as we allow God to transform our suffering into fruitfulness…
Ian has been married to his wife Cassi since 2008. After too many years of city life, they happily moved back to their little hometown in Arizona. They now enjoy helping out at their parish, having meaningful conversations, hiking, and eating delicious Mexican food.