Read: Habakkuk 3:17-19
Reflect: During a hard season of waiting on God, I heard an encouraging story. Clive Calver, then President of World Relief and a colleague of World Concern, related how some years before, he had passed through a border checkpoint in Liberia that was manned by drug-crazed, machine gun toting teenaged rebel soldiers. Any wrong move and he would have been shot dead. At that time, Liberia was in the midst of a bloody civil war. World Relief was serving in that country, helping people escape conflict zones, resettle, start to rebuild their lives and work for peace. The land was destitute. Grief and danger were everywhere. There was no sign of hope.
God had called World Relief to serve there – to plant seeds of reconciliation and hope, trusting that God was at work through them. Clive said when he looked out at the war torn country around him he could see nothing but bleakness and despair. Yet, in his heart, he knew that he and his staff were to keep on working in faith, planting seeds of the Kingdom. In spite of appearances, those seeds were germinating underground. Unseen, tiny plants were growing, putting down roots and forming stems and leaves that would someday – soon – break through the soil above them.
Time passed. Clive visited the same part of Liberia again. Everything had changed. A calm, capable government official waved him through the check point. To his joy, Clive saw that in the surrounding villages people were growing crops, raising animals, bringing in their harvests, meeting in the marketplace. Neighbors were living together in peace once again. After a long season of sowing in tears, he was privileged to see the start of a joyful harvest.
We may not know how or when God will reveal what he is doing in hard times. But we can choose to put our trust in the God of our salvation. He is for us, not against us. We can ask him to be our strength as we carry on in tough places, planting the seeds he has called us to sow.
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Discuss: Have you struggled to keep hoping when, in spite of your efforts, things don’t get better? Are you sowing in tears, faithfully planting seeds you can’t yet see sprouting? Maybe you’re in a hard relationship or difficult job. Trying hard at school. Or struggling with prayers that seem to go unanswered.
Pray: God of all hope, fill us with all joy and peace in believing through the power of your Holy Spirit. Let us trust your mighty power and goodness to be at work in ways we cannot see. And help us to be faithful in what you have called us to do.
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