Dealing with Rocks

Hi everybody! Happy Friday!

I’m so excited to share this next installment of my Parable of the Sower study. If you missed my first one, you can find it here. 🙂

Last week I wrote about the sower and the seeds and the path and the birds. I illustrated what that scenario might look like today, and I shared what I had been learning about how this passage applies directly to our lives as a Christians. I hope to do the same with the seed and the rocks today!

A Bit about Rocks…

Being a recent resident of Iowa and therefore surrounded by farmers, I’m beginning to understand this situation a little better than I did before. Every year, farmers plow their fields and prepare them for their crops, and part of that process is “picking rock.” Which is basically a lot of long hot hours walking through massive fields, picking out the rocks and stones that have surfaced when the farmer plowed the field. And the job never ends! Somehow there are always more rocks to pick out, to the point that people joke about growing rocks as well as corn and soybeans.

Why spend all this time picking rocks out of a field? I’m sure there are a few reasons, but the one that is relevant to the Parable of the Sower is that rocks prevent the baby plants from growing properly. Rocks block the root systems of the plants so they can’t reach deep into the soil and find the water and nutrients that these plants need to survive the sun’s heat.

“Other seed fell on rocky ground…” (Mark 4:5)

So when the sower’s seeds fall on rocky ground, the baby plants spring up quickly, but there are too many stones in the way to take root. The sun quickly scorches the baby plants because they have not established the deep roots that they need to survive the hot climate. Jesus explains that these seeds represent people who hear the gospel and receive it gladly, but when hardship or persecution confront them, they abandon their faith and fall away.

What if it looked like this?

“Jesus died to save you, and He wants to change your life. You just have to accept Him.” I want a changed life, thinks Jenna, so she accepts Him. She’s excited about her new-found faith, and she begins telling her friends about the decision she’s made. But in the next week, her doctor informs her that she has cancer, likely months to live. Her friends mean well, but they can’t help asking questions. “Why is this happening to you if Jesus is supposed to make your life better?”

This is an extreme example, but it makes my point. Sometimes people “accept Jesus” with the wrong expectations. They think a “changed life” means a better life, a healthy life, or a comfortable life. They don’t realize that’s not what Jesus promises. Jesus says He will give Christians eternal life, but He also says Christians will undergo hard times in this life. They will be scoffed at and persecuted. So when the hard times and scoffers and persecutions come, these people who have accepted Jesus for a “changed life” are disappointed, and they reject their new-found faith as some cheap trick. They abandon their faith and fall away.

Believers Can Struggle With This Too…

Like I mentioned in the previous post, this parable is primarily about the different responses that unbelievers can have toward the gospel. But there is application for believers as well! It’s easy for us to allow expectations to creep into our minds, just like Jenna. Expectations of a healthy family, a growing church, children who are walking with the Lord… After all, we are serving the Lord, right? Surely He’ll bless us with those things…

But that’s not what God promises. He doesn’t promise to remove all hardship from our lives.

Our Story

My husband and I got a small taste of this last year. Our son was a classic “blue baby,” diagnosed with a heart defect when he was less than 48 hours old. He had open heart surgery three days later, and he spent ten days in the hospital for recovery. Tomorrow marks the first anniversary of the day we brought Little Buddy home from the hospital. 🙂

Our story isn’t unique – there are many who have gone through much harder circumstances. But for His own reasons, God wanted the three of us to have this particular experience. He wanted to use it in our lives to grow us, to increase our faith in Him, and to give us opportunities to share the gospel. Was it hard? Yes! I still tear up when I think about those hard days. But I also tear up when I think of how God walked with us through it – the Bible passages that we clung to, the family and friends and pastors who encouraged us, and the people who were praying for us literally all over the world.

That’s what God promises us – to walk with us through the hard times.

A Bit of Application

Rocks are going to come up in our lives. Like the farmers in Iowa, we’re never going to be fully rid of them. But I don’t think we have to let them shake our faith. My prayer for me, for my family, and for you, is Paul’s prayer in Ephesians 3:17-19 – that we might be “rooted and grounded” in Christ’s love, knowing that His love for us surpasses anything that we could comprehend.

We can trust that He knows what He’s doing when the rocks come up.

Praying for you! Until next time!

~ Erin


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