Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: rain (10/17/05)
- TITLE: Quickening
By Beth Muehlhausen
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A tiny brown seed lay buried amidst grains of burning desert sand – forgotten, dormant, and lonely. The desert takes pride in death, it thought. Nothing lives here. Only a few stubborn cacti make it occasionally, ones content with mere survival.
The seed asked itself some important questions. Will I ever escape? Can I be rescued and transported over miles of desolate dunes to some lush oasis? Why did God leave me here indefinitely? Can I grow up to defy the desert’s harsh climate?
One day not long after this questioning a rare thundercloud appeared without warning. Rain drenched the mountainous piles of sand and eroded their banks to form deep gullies. And then the miracle happened. Moisture touched the seed’s brown skin; the promise of new life stirred within. Something shifted internally. Nothing would ever be the same again.
A strange inner swelling continued, and within hours the seed’s first tiny root nudged its way into the still-damp sand. Then a feeble stem reached up toward sunlight. The seed was becoming something new – a growing plant!
The unexpected rainfall allowed life to spring up elsewhere from other seeds hidden in the seemingly infertile sand. Lime green leaves transformed the desert into a place of life. While roots continued to extend themselves deeper into the sand in search of water, stems emerging in the opposite direction did the unthinkable. The neighborhood of desert plants bloomed with lush flowers to celebrate their resurrection, dotting the desert with a random pattern like that of an old-fashioned crazy quilt.
The flowering plant - once a seed - found life beyond mere wishful thinking.
Praise You, Lord, for Your life-giving rain. Thank You for providing abundant measures of water for a stranded, hopeless seed!
* * * * * *
Her stony heart lay buried beneath lies and distortions learned in childhood. She seemed unimportant and very, very lonely. This life is about giving up - about losing and hurting, she thought. I will never understand the façade: just “getting by.” Some people seem to ignore the pain and live differently, but who really knows how to “rise above?”
She pondered the seemingly unanswerable questions of life. Will I make sense out of my existence? Will someone rescue me? Why did God allow me to be born into this barren family in the first place? I wasn’t wanted here – can I escape to a place where I might flourish? Can I overcome my circumstances?
She hardly expected answers. She was pregnant, and scared, and trying valiantly to hide from fear. But one day she met with two friends over a plate of warm chocolate chip cookies where her heart opened in response to their testimonies. The other two chatted about the scripture reference used in a recent Sunday School lesson: “‘Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within.’ By this he meant the Spirit…” (John 7:38-39a).
During that conversation, new life seemed to stir within her – not the baby she was carrying, but something else. What was it? Could it be an internal shift from despair to hope? As the Holy Spirit quickened her own spirit - as He softened her heart with “living water” - she couldn’t know that everything had already changed forever. Her focus was clear: I desperately need what these women have.
On that day she accepted and confessed Christ as her personal Lord and Savior, and soon joined a Bible Study with her two friends and a handful of other Christians. They jointly sought the Truth, worshipped God, and sang songs like this one:
“Holy Spirit rain down, rain down.
Oh Comforter and Friend
How we need Your touch again!
Holy Spirit rain down, rain down.
Let Your power fall, let Your voice be heard
Come and change our hearts,
As we stand on Your Word
Holy Spirit, rain down.
“No eye has seen, no ear has heard,
No mind can know what God has in store.
So open up heaven, open it wide,
Over Your church, and over our lives.”
Her new faith bloomed quickly; her hardened heart opened like a germinating seed to blossom in the wake of the Spirit’s life-giving rain.
She embraced this new kind of hope that was real and full of promise.
Thank You Lord, for blessing me with Your “living water.” Thank you for LIFE.
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