Artyom Sidorkin of Russia, who went into surgery this week for what doctors believed was a large, malignant lung tumor. Doctors found and removed a 3-inch-tall fir tree growing in his lung. “I thought I was hallucinating,” said the surgeon, who thinks Sidorkin must have inhaled a seed. -from The Week Magazine
I heard this story at the end of a message delivered from one of my favorite Bible teachers, Jon Courson. His message was JUST what I needed to hear today. I had it playing in the background while I was putting away laundry and working on a little preschool project with my 4 year old son.
My heart has been so discouraged lately with all the opposition I face due to my own past choices, my current circumstances, the unbelief of those around me and my own lack of believing. I've been downcast because I've doubted that the seeds of truth (God's word) that I'm trying to plant in my sons, and live out in my life, are really going to take root and grow into a mature tree that produces righteous fruit.
I've looked at my marriage situation and thought, "My sons will never receive this from a mommy. They need a dad. A man who raises his voice in worship. A man who leads them into service. A man who prayers over them and with them." I've looked at the response I've gotten from my oldest son... the eye rolling, the sighs, the "Not this again mom!" The, "Is this a GOD book mom? UHHHHH!" The, "Only mommies and girls go to church mom! Not daddies and boys." The, "I don't believe you mom!" With the backdrop to all those statements being non-stop excited talk about Star Wars and this fictional monster, and that make-believe villain, I've felt like I'm up against the god of this age. Me. A little housewife who struggles to believe on her own. Who rebelled against God when she was a pure virgin before Him. Who chose this way. I've felt like my feeble attempt at teaching my sons the way of the Lord is tasting like dry toast in the midst of all the candy offered them.
But then on this past Sunday the Lord encouraged me. He reminded me that He knew I was tired, discouraged and doubting, but that He was with me. And that I was being His witness here. And that He uses the weak to lead the strong.
Then today I listened to the message from Courson and he talked about how we, as Christians, are witnesses to the people around us not necessarily by leaving tracks on people cars or doors or whatever (not that those don't have their place if that is something you're called to), but simply by speaking the truth in every situation. The truth.
Pilot asked, "What is truth?" (John 18:38)
Jesus prayed, "Thy word is truth." (John 17:17)
In every situation if we answer truthfully, interject what's right, speak out what God says, we are being His witnesses.
Courson talked about how this will often cause people to despise us because it burns them, even though on our part we do it in love (and we should be sure that we are speaking the truth in love not in spite or reviling). Often speaking the truth in love will cause people to rejoice when we finally leave their town, situation, workplace... life. Often we'll be rejected, but always God will raise up a remnant of those who will believe because we spoke the truth. We may not always see it, but it will happen.
Courson raised the example of Solomon's mom. Just the example I needed to hear. He pointed out that Solomon wrote the Proverbs 31 chapter in memory of his mother. Solomon recounts what she taught him in verses 1-9.
The words of King Lemuel, the utterance which his mother taught him: What, my son? And what, son of my womb? And what, son of my vows? Do not give your strength to women, Nor your ways to that which destroys kings. It is not for kings, O Lemuel, It is not for kings to drink wine, Nor for princes intoxicating drink; Lest they drink and forget the law, And pervert the justice of all the afflicted. Give strong drink to him who is perishing, And wine to those who are bitter of heart. Let him drink and forget his poverty, And remember his misery no more. Open your mouth for the speechless, In the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously, And plead the cause of the poor and needy. - Proverbs 31:1-9 NKJV
There she implores her son not to go the way of the world... sex, drugs and rock n' roll... etc. She points out he was destined for greatness... to be a king for God, to be a deliverer of the oppressed, poor, women and children. She calls him to rise to that call and not get caught up with immoral women and drunkenness. But as I was listening to Courson's message, he goes on to say that she probably died not seeing her son become the man she desired him to be... the man she spoke truth to. Nevertheless, in Ecclesiastes we see the wayward Solomon come to realize that all of what he'd gone chasing after was stupid and vain, and that fearing God and obeying His truth is what really matters in life.
Ecclesiastes calls Solomon, "the Preacher." Solomon's mom probably died seeing Solomon as a rebellious, worldly man. But the truth she planted in him eventually sprouted up to make him a preacher.
Courson then shared that story about the man with the 3 inch tall fir tree growing in his lungs.
God's word is an imperishable seed.
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. - 1 Peter 1:23 NIV
The Word is planted in our hearts, and in our kids' hearts when we speak it to them and model it for them, and even though the odds against it growing seem more than that of a fir seed planted in a lung growing, it will grow! It will work!
Let us moms not grow weary in planting truth in our kids and in others God has brought into our lives. God will get what He desires from His implanted Word.
"For as the rain comes down, and the snow from heaven, And do not return there, But water the earth, And make it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower And bread to the eater, So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it." -Isaiah 55:10-11 NKJV