• cropsTensions rise over refugee ship
  • Four dead in Spanish plane crash
  • Policeman “killed family then himself”
  • Mid-East ‘truce’ fails to bite

These were the main headlines from BBC Online today (29th August, 2001). If they sound too grim, here is the offering from Associated Press:

  • Bomb injures 34 in Algeria capital
  • Gunmen fire at U.S. peace keepers
  • Three killed in Spain plane crash

Bad news sells. Therefore good news never make it to prime time. As a result we get a distorted view of the world.

Still there are days when you ask: where on earth is the kingdom of God? Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection were supposed to have ushered in the kingdom. But there are days you have to ask: What evidence do we have of the kingdom?

I guess it helps to be farmers. Farmer time allows for seasons. There is a time to sow. There is a time to harvest. And there are times when nothing seems to be happening. But the farmer knows that beneath the ground, out of sight, the seeds are already beginning to grow.

Which I think is Jesus’ point in the parable of the growing seed in Mark 4: 26-29.

“The kingdom of God is like this. A man scatters seed on the ground; he goes to bed at night and gets up in the morning, and meanwhile the seed sprouts and grows—how he does not know. The ground produces a crop by itself, first the blade, than the ear, then full grain in the ear; but as soon as the crop is ripe, he starts reaping because harvest time has come.” REB

The language may be pre-scientific. Today we can put a name to all the parts and processes. Yet, there is still a mystery to it all. The farmer’s crops grow–for a time invisible, but grow they do. Indeed you can almost say that their growth is inevitable. And when the time is right, the crop becomes visible. Undeniable. Ditto the kingdom.

It is growing even now, sure and irresistible, though often still invisible. But there will be a harvest day. On that day there will be no more ambiguity. On the day that Christ returns. It is a sequence already demonstrated by His death and resurrection.

It is absolutely vital that we remember this. There are days when evil seems so overwhelming. There are days when history seems to be caught on some cosmic treadmill, playing out the same sad script everyday.

It can be so tiring. You begin to doubt. You wonder if there are other explanations for life. Or you just stop caring.

On days like these go into farmer mode. Weeping may last for a night but a shout of joy comes in the morning (Psalm 30:5). The harvest will come.