ODJ: Hope Beyond Discouragement

March 18, 2017 

READ: John 12:20-26 

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives (v.24).

Jordan is a third-generation farmer who is taking over his father’s apple orchards. Recently we were talking about all the agricultural metaphors in the Bible. “On the farm, I learn so many spiritual lessons,” he said. As we conversed further, we discussed John 12:24—in which Jesus talks about the harvest that results from a single seed being buried in the ground. The wisdom found in that verse was encouraging, because during that season of life I was feeling emotionally dead—like a seed buried in the ground.

“But so much happens while a seed is buried in the ground,” my friend told me. “We just can’t see it during the cold winter. We see it in the spring and summer.” His words lifted my spirits amid my discouragement due to seemingly unanswered prayer. As Proverbs 13:12 tells us, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a dream fulfilled is a tree of life.” Much like a seedling pushing up through soil, it was encouraging to consider that my hope was only deferred temporarily as God continued to do His work.

It was when Jesus made His way to Jerusalem to face His death that He talked about the harvest that can result from a single seed buried in the ground (John 12:12-35). He said, “Its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives” (v.24). Christ knew that He would soon die and be placed in a tomb. But He recognised that His death, much like a seed planted deep in the ground, would eventually bear a great harvest. Jesus didn’t stay in the tomb, but rose again to life! Because of what Christ has done, we have hope in Him—hope that lifts our spirits even when we’ve been buried by discouragement.

—Marlena Graves

365-day plan: Ruth 4:1-22

Read Romans 15:13 and consider the source of real hope. 
What can help you trust in God even when experiencing suffering and discouragement? How will you point others to the Source of Hope today?