As I walked down the driveway to my boss's office, I saw something that looked impossible. In a small crack between the foundation of the building, the driveway, and the sidewalk there was a stunning, deep pink petunia blooming as though it was living in perfect surroundings. Apparently, a small seed from the pot of flowers that sat on the front stoop of the house the year before had blown into the crack and lodged itself there for the winter. Its perseverance paid off, and when the warm weather began, the seed shell broke open, and roots grew. Those roots produced the petunia plant and the beautiful flower.
This amazing picture gave me great hope as I began to think about other seeds that have been planted. In Scripture, the word seed has different definitions. If we go back to the days of Abram in Genesis, we see that the Lord referred to Abraham's descendants as seed. "Yahweh brought him (Abram) outside his tent and said, 'Gaze into the night sky. Go ahead and try to count the stars.' He continued, 'Your seed will be as numerous as the stars!'" (Genesis 15:5 - TPT)
Not only can seed refer to descendants, but it can also refer to the Word of God. The seed is planted in the "ground" of our hearts. God designed all of us to produce fruit when His Word is planted and germinates. He also expects us to partner with Him in seed sowing. "Sow your seed in the morning, and at evening, let your hands not be idle." (Ecclesiastes 11:6a) The apostle Paul explains to the church at Corinth that we are servants of God, each with a task. "I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow." (1 Corinthians 3:6)
May I encourage those of you who are praying for prodigals to come home? When I think of them, I think of the seeds that they carry. I am well aware that parents, grandparents, siblings, and friends intentionally plant seeds in their loved ones who have left the faith or who never fully embraced it. Let us remember that once a seed is planted, it does not go away! In the natural world, the shell of a seed must be broken before it begins to root. When I think of the petunia seed that brought forth the beauty held within it in an almost impossible situation, it reminds me that the seeds planted in hard hearts of God's children will also beak forth and produce fruit. Jesus, when he told those He ministered to not to worry, He pointed to the flowers. "...See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these." (Matthew 6:28-29)
Perhaps our prayers for the prodigals in our lives should include asking the Lord to break open the shells surrounding the seeds that are already in their hearts. Then, let us pray that those seeds planted by our prayers are used to soften our loved ones' hearts. When the ground around a seed is soft, we have optimum conditions for growth. As the seeds begin to break and root, God will help them to grow. Be encouraged! God is a gardener. The first family was placed in the Garden of Eden. God continues to place each of us in ideal growing conditions for the fruit that He desires to harvest. He is all about collaborating with us to break up the hard ground so that the fruit of righteousness is forthcoming.
Joan E. Mathias