Prepare for trouble
Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. … Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. … Like seed sown on rocky places, [some] hear the word and at once receive it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away.
- Mark 4:3, 5-6, 16-17
Seeds need to dig roots deep into the soil. There they find water and nutrients they need to thrive. When rocks prevent the plants from developing a healthy root system, some plants throw their energy into leaf and flower production. At first, these may be the most attractive plants around. But they don’t last.
It’s the same way with the word of God. Some people grab onto the word quickly and eagerly but don’t develop roots for their faith and, as a result, fall away when the going gets tough. Jesus says specifically that troubles and persecutions can come as a result of our faith. If we haven’t put down deep roots, our faith won’t survive.
Although we don’t experience the same level of trials as many Christians throughout history and around the world, we do encounter those who are antagonistic towards people of faith—consider your workplace or your family or your neighborhood or just popular culture and the media.
Preparing the soil of our hearts requires us to be ready to survive the rocks:
- Commit to processing your doubts, other people’s skepticism, and any persecutions you experience alongside others who have experienced the same challenges.
- Don’t be surprised when persecution or troubles come because of your faith! Jesus told us this would happen.
- Press your roots deeply into the soil by finding ways to cultivate a vibrant and deep faith that can withstand trials or persecutions.
Removing the rocks requires effort on our parts. But we have good news. The same God who came to save us from our sins will empower us and work alongside us as we cultivate hearts that are open to him.
What is the Lord inviting you to do today?