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Keep your face to the Son

Joni Eareckson Tada recalls spring days on the family farm and the lesson of the tomato seed

Just poke your head outside, take a deep breath, and smell the fragrance of spring. There’s nothing like digging in damp earth, planting a tomato seed – or a sunflower or watermelon seed – then watering, waiting and watching it grow.

I recall spring days on the farm when my sister Jay would press a whole row of tomato seedlings into the ground – she’d dust the dirt off her hands and plan all sorts of yummy summertime menus, from fried tomatoes to zesty gazpacho. And to think it all began with a tiny seed.

I’ve lived in a wheelchair over 50 years, and when I dream about my glorified body in heaven, my thoughts wander to seeds. Like in 1 Corinthians 15: 37 & 49, “You do not plant the body that will be, but just a seed ... And just as we have borne the image of the earthly man [Adam], so shall we bear the image of the heavenly man [Jesus].”

Consider the tomato seeds my sister planted. If you were to tell that tiny seed that one day it would be four feet tall with lush branches from which fat red fruit would dangle … that seed would say you were crazy. A big tomato plant bears absolutely no resemblance to the seed sown from the packet. The two, although related, seem as different as night and day – yet they are the same. Somehow, within that little tomato seed is the promise and pattern of the new creation it will become.

And somehow, within us is the pattern of the heavenly persons we will one day become. You and what you’ll be one day are one and the same – yet different. One day we will bear the likeness of Jesus, the man from heaven. Like his, our bodies will be perfectly suited for earth and heaven. And I can’t wait!

It’s why I want to be an obedient little seed. I want to “die to self,” as any good seed would. I want to “wait on the Lord,” even in the dark, absorbing the water of his Word and sprouting deep roots. I want to keep my face toward the Son as I grow. Because I’m growing with a goal: to one day bear the likeness of the man from heaven, Jesus.

I wish you could spend a lazy late spring afternoon with me back on the farm, sipping tea and watching Jay’s garden grow. We’d sit and talk about how tasty our fried tomatoes would be, but we’d also talk about the lesson of the seed. And how we’ll blossom in heaven.

Until that time, thank you for keeping on the side of the Son. If it wants to grow, it’s what any good seed would do.

  • Joni Eareckson Tada is an advocate for disabled people and a popular author and speaker. She partners with the UK organisation Through the Roof

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