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Lessons from a tomato seed

By Myrtle Virginia Thompson

I was cutting into a tomato and surprised to find in its “heart” tiny seeds opening up, green tips showing. I lifted them out and planted them. Those eight seeds are already about 6 inches tall. Will they produce fruit, or are they hybrids? Hybrids may not respond in the same way.

In Matthew 13, Jesus talked about seed sowing and likened it to seed being sown in the lives and hearts of people. The farmers of Jesus’ day expected fruit. What can we expect when we sow God’s word in our minds and hearts?

Some of the last events of Jesus’ life are recorded In Mark 14. It is there I found the little word “abba” in verse 36. Thoughts began germinating in my mind. I had heard the word “abba” many times during the almost 18 years I spent in Pakistan. It is the name a child called his father. This “seed” word had remained dormant, unplanted, until I read again “Abba, Father.” It is possibly Jesus’ last prayer before He suffered the agony of the cross. He did not get the answer for which He hoped. He had to wake his sleeping disciples and leave Gethsemane to keep the Genesis 3:15 appointment made by His Father.

Mark, the youngest disciple, was not there when Jesus was praying that night. He was old enough to listen in on the conversations of the other disciples but still young enough to remember this word: abba. It expresses tenderness and ownership. Jesus would have used it when He was a child, but now Abba, Father had new meaning. Mark is the only writer to record these words. He knew about this human moment and thought it important enough for others to overhear Jesus’ plea to His Father. Jesus was hurting physically and emotionally, asking for parental comfort no human could give. Mark was recognizing the special relationship Jesus had with the Father.

“Father, Father” was Jesus’ desperate heart cry. I can almost hear His wish, reminiscent of what we hear today — “We will get through this” — but His Father could not grant that assurance. It is a mystery so deep only God can plant this seed of understanding in our hearts. When we allow that, the seed grows into a relationship, a “new birth” with the Eternal God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is then we can address Him as abba, Father. We humans needed what God was allowing, the human form of Jesus as the only treatment to halt the pandemic and curse of sin.

Today’s viral pandemic has produced a worldwide condition unlike any other. The Bible reminds us God offers comfort because He wants us to know His love. Psalm 119:50 says God makes us alive with hope; Isaiah 61 is a promise for all that mourn.

Read in John’s Gospel God’s plan from the beginning of creation, then read Jesus’ promise for comfort (John 14:16.) In 2 Corinthians 1, Paul told the Corinthians to comfort others with the hope they had. Jesus taught His disciples to pray “Our Father Who art in Heaven…” If we are His children, it is our privilege to call Him Abba, Father.

Let that seed grow in our hearts like the tomato seeds are growing. It will bring hope in the days ahead.

Myrtle V. Thompson, 92, is a retired missionary, writer, educator and Bible teacher. Email her at mvtgrt@gmail.com.