There are times when trying to wrap my head around all the difficult theological issues in the Bible gives me a headache. There is so much I don’t understand, so much that seems incomprehensible, so much that etches a thin line around my tiny speck of faith.
But then there are moments, like a while ago, when I sat with a cup of good coffee in front of a comforting fireplace and watched as a tiny girl dressed in a red snowsuit skated an elegant loop around the pond across the street. And I am so thankful for all the small graces, the atoms of hope that form and design my days like the multitude of pixels in a digital photograph.
I don’t need to understand all the theological questions, though it is good to stretch my brain to try. All I need is that simple faith, the smallest drop of faith, as the scripture says, even as much as the size of a mustard seed.
Jesus compared His kingdom to that mustard seed as He wandered the roads and byways of Jerusalem and beyond. He said, “It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his garden. It grew and became a tree, and the birds perched in its branches” (Luke 13:19).
Notice the parts to this little story. The man took the seed – he was willing to receive something from God. Then he planted it – he took action and used what God had given him. As a result the plant grew into what God had intended it to be. And finally, the birds came and made it their own – the plant was useful and appreciated.
I love that last phrase – it’s one of those atoms of hope for me because it speaks of purpose and usefulness and blessing. That tiny seed buried in the earth resulted in a flourishing plant, part of a beautiful garden that brought joy and peace to those around it. That gives me hope for the tiny seeds I have spread and planted in my lifetime. I may not even be aware of most of them, but God can use them to bring about His purposes.
Can we see a parallel in our lives? What it is that God wants to give us that will follow the same pattern? Has he offered you the ability to teach, to write, to speak? Has he offered you what you need to nourish your children and family for the future? Has he gifted you with a personality that He intends to use to attract people to Him? Has he opened the doors of heaven and invited you to be a prayer warrior?
What steps do we need to take to make ourselves open to receive these small graces? The Apostle Paul tells us in 2 Timothy 2:21 – “Those who cleanse themselves … will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work.”