Today’s blog post is not only a lesson from the Word but a teaser for my new novel which I hope to have completed by summer’s end.
“Then he (Jesus) told them many things in parables, saying: ‘A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop – a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.” (Matthew 13:3-9 NIV 1984)
“Listen then to what the parable of the sower means. When anyone hears the message about the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what was sown in the heart. This is the seed sown along the path. The seed falling on rocky ground refers to someone who hears the word and at once receives it with joy. But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the world, they quickly fall away. The seed falling among the thorns refers to someone who hears the word, but the worries of this life and the deceitfulness of wealth choke the word, making it unfruitful. But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”
The lawyer’s office was dark and cluttered. Even though the day was sunny, no yellow rays penetrated the dusty blinds. Every flat surface held a haphazard array of books and files. Two cheap vinyl chairs crowded together in front of the desk, uncomfortably occupied by two women trying to avoid eye contact. A middle-aged man stood in the corner, glancing around the small room. One woman was quite young, a baby in her lap, while the other was pale, touches of grey showing in her stiff waves. The man, dark all over, eyes, hair, and skin, shifted his weight nervously.
Seated in the large leather office chair, John Lincoln, Esquire, studied the child. She was less than a year old, blissfully unaware what was happening and how it affected her. Content for the moment, she sucked her thumb noisily. Her name was Cindy.
“Mr. and Mrs. Ready, if you’ll sign here, please, full names and today’s date.” He pushed documents across his desk and offered a pen.
The couple did as requested, eyeing each other to confirm what they were doing was the right thing. A good thing. For them.
“And, Miss Roberts, if you will sign here, also full name and the date,” the lawyer repeated to the younger woman who shifted the child to her other knee before taking the pen. Holding it above the signature line, she hesitated briefly, a lone tear seeping from her eye. Glancing at Mr. Lincoln, she saw him nod imperceptibly and quickly scribbled the required information. Nearly knocking over the chair in her haste to escape, Janet Roberts handed the child to the older woman and fled the room, not bothering to close the door behind her. Startled by the commotion, Cindy began to cry.
Malcolm Ready reached into the bag left by the child’s mother, found a bottle of milk, and handed it to the baby. Martha bounced her knees too vigorously causing the bottle to slip from the baby’s hands which set off another round of tears. Malcolm picked it up, giving his wife a look of annoyance.
“Here you go, baby girl, here you go,” Martha tried again, keeping herself still this time. Cindy clutched the bottle hungrily.
“Well, that concludes just about everything…,” Lincoln’s voice trailed off as he gave Malcolm a questioning look.
“Oh, right,” Malcolm responded as he reached into his jacket and brought out an envelope. The lawyer handed him a copy of the documents in return.
“Thank you, Mr. Lincoln. We really appreciate all you’ve done to help us.” Martha smiled as she gathered her purse and stood holding tightly to Cindy.
“Yes, thank you,” echoed Malcolm, picking up the baby bag.
Lincoln eyed the couple. He’d known the Ready family for years, was close friends with Malcolm’s mother, Jean. She was a fine woman, honest to a fault, hard-working, and kind. He could not say the same about her son, and it was only because of their friendship that he agreed to handle the adoption.
“Y’all take good care of little Cindy now. I look forward to watching her grow up,” John said as he escorted them to the exit.
“Oh, she’s not Cindy anymore. Her name is Julia now,” admonished Martha.
“That’s right. I forgot. Julia, it is.”
He knew of the couple’s heartbreak after learning there would be no biological children. After seeing dozens of doctors,…, acceptance settled. Approaching forty, they’d all but given up when a friend of Martha’s heard about a young woman looking to give up her baby. Although surprised to learn the child was almost a year old, they took the plunge.
John Lincoln returned to his desk and sat, hands folded as if in prayer. He wasn’t a religious man, but at that moment, he was praying this would work out. He believed Martha would do her best, but he wasn’t sure how well she could stand up to Malcolm’s temper. He’d never been aware of him actually hitting Martha, so he told himself all would be well. Hopefully, having a child would settle Malcolm down, make him more responsible.
He dearly hoped so. At least Jean Ready would be close by.
My second novel is about a woman who is like the soil that receives the seed but then an abusive childhood, and teenage troubles, cause her to reject God in spite of a loving grandmother’s prayers. The story tells of her long tortured journey as she continues to reject God and harden her heart before finding her way back to faith. Even then, the past will not release her from its grip as she faces down hidden truths in order to finally free herself.
Perhaps you are like one of the soils mentioned in the Matthew passage. Ask yourself, “Who is Jesus to me?” And then, ask yourself, “Who am I to Jesus?”
God bless you, dear ones, and thank you for reading.