On Shootings and Sweet Potatoes…

13 Jun

There’s no telling how long it had been there.sweet potato

Our first inclination that something was amiss was the fruit flies. It started with one or two. Puzzled, I moved a perfectly good bunch of bananas to the kitchen table, where they sat in a decorative bowl.

No luck.

Next, I moved the avocados.

Still no luck.

The fruit flies were definitely coming from the pantry, and while they weren’t taking over, they were certainly pesky, so I continued to investigate. I rearranged, scrubbed, and scoured, and still couldn’t find their source.

On June 13, 2016, barely a day and a half after the worst mass shooting in the history of the United States, I sighed as I put away the groceries. We had talked about the Orlando tragedy all morning long on 90.9 KCBI, and my heart was heavy.

Grabbing a plastic bag of sweet potatoes and swatting away another tiny bug, I cleared a space in the corner on the bottom shelf. That’s when I found the fruit fly lair.

In disbelief and disgust, I pulled a thriving sweet potato plant out of our pantry and into the light. How in the world had this thing grown? There was no light, no water, no plant food! I keep a pretty spic-and-span kitchen, how had this escaped me?

Remarkable, isn’t it, how something can flourish in the most hostile conditions.

On a day of grieving and prayer, I am strangely comforted by the sweet potato. It reminds me of a few things. Like how God’s purposes are never thwarted, and how things that stun us into silence do not shake Him. If God decrees it, it cannot be stopped.

Just try to thwart God’s will. Two-thousand years ago the Pharisees and Sadducees crucified our Savior, and the grave had no power to hold Him.

Can I say that again?

Death, in the face of Christ, is like an ant in the face of a boot.

It’s a non-issue, a non-threat, not even a stumbling block.

Upon Christ’s resurrection, a tiny band of bumbling, bickering boys became an unstoppable band of brothers who took the Gospel to the farthest reaches of their world, and since then the Church has spread across the globe.

Satan can throw stones, but as history has proven time and again, the harder he presses, the more we press on.

I am sick to death at what happened at a nightclub in Orlando, and everything in me is crying out for justice. But in the face of my sadness I resolve to this:

I will not give in to fear.

Not today. Not tomorrow. Not ever.

Because my Savior walks on water and calms down storms. He casts out demons and makes blind men see. He tells dead people that they have to wake-up and can turn the greatest enemies of the church into advocates and authors of Scripture.

Before Jesus departed, He warned us of a few things. He said that in this world we would see heartbreak and injustice. We would go through trials and tribulation. We would know sadness and suffering.

But we would fight from victory, not for it. And while the battles would be brutal, the war has been won.

Just like the lack of light and sustenance couldn’t stop the sweet potato, so trauma and terror can’t stop our Lord.

Let’s not let it stop us, either. We will rally around those impacted by the evil. We will show them what the love of Christ looks like.

So let’s mourn and weep and wail and pray. But let’s also remember that the light shines the brightest in the dark.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.

—John 1:5 NLT

4 Responses to “On Shootings and Sweet Potatoes…”

  1. Barbi McSwain at 6:57 am #

    I was pondering your sweet potato this morning when it struck me: it grew in the dark without anything but what God had already given it. I got online to tell you, but thankfully, you already saw it and wrote it. May we all grow in this darkness. “We fight FROM victory.” That’s good!

  2. Sonja at 9:45 am #

    What encouraging words and how beautifully written. Thank you, Rebecca.

    • Rebecca at 10:22 am #

      Sonja, thank you so much, my friend!

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