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  • Stacy Sanchez

It is Finished! Or is it?

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. John 12:24 NIV

Have you ever noticed that, with God, when something is supposed to be finished—gone, dead, and buried—it usually isn’t?

God’s kingdom is upside-down and backward to our human sensibilities. In His wisdom, when something dies, new life should burst forth and begin again.

My four children learned that lesson for themselves when they received a butterfly terrarium one Easter. With great anticipation, their little faces pressed against the glass as we diligently monitored our pupas in hope of witnessing butterflies emerge from their chrysalis.

The three-week wait became too much for my seven-year-old daughter to bear. Frustrated, she threw up her hands and said, “Heck with it. They’re dead!” and stormed out of the room.

I’m sure you know how this story ends. The butterflies proved her wrong. What my daughter thought was dead, broke through to become a gorgeous kaleidoscope of Painted Ladies. I spared her the words, “I told you so.”

In John 12:24, Jesus taught that a seed must first die before it can grow and bear fruit. How can something grow if it dies? That’s weird. That’s God’s upside-down kingdom for you.

We’ve all had people we loved who have died. The pain is gut-wrenching. What about the death of a dream, a friendship, a marriage, or a career? These losses can be soul-shattering. As a pastor, I’ve seen people walk away from the Lord because life was too painful and didn’t look like they had planned.

Why would God put a dream in my heart just to see it die?

Is the dream, friendship, career dead? Or, like caterpillars, is God’s inner work in us hidden and we are being slowly changed until the time is right for rebirth?

He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign Lord, you alone know.” Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the Lord! This is what the Sovereign Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life….’” (Ezekiel 37:3-5 NIV).

Just a thought, but maybe what must die is our ego. Ouch! Like the seed in Jesus’s parable, our idea of what things should look like may also need to fall to the ground, die, and be reborn.

Have you ever noticed a pattern God used before launching people into ministry? He first took them into the desert. For example: Moses, Joseph, Jacob, David, Paul, and even Jesus were all led into the desert before God could use them for His purpose. Why?

I believe God chose the hot, dry, barren wilderness to bring His servants to the place where they would become desperate for Him. Desperation is where the ego goes to die. Only when they were at the end of themselves and clinging to God for their very existence, could He breathe new life—His dreams and purposes—into their dry bones. The leaders God brought into the desert always left changed for the better.

Have you had something in your life die? A dream? A ministry? A purpose? Hope?

Me too. I’m sorry.

Death is painful, no matter what kind. Sometimes it just doesn’t make sense. We may never know the answer to our cries of “Why, God?” But Jesus shows us that in His kingdom, new life will come from death and a divine purpose will come from the pain.



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