For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. – 1 Peter 1:23 (NIV)
Back in the 1960s, excavations at one of the palaces of Herod the Great (yes, that Herod) turned up a bunch of 2000-year-old seeds of the Judean date palm tree. In 2005, scientists managed to get one of them to germinate.
The new tree flowered in 2011. It’s begun pollenating other trees, which have begun producing fruit. Six more trees grown from other ancient caches are nearing reproductive maturity. Botanically, this is a big deal; the Judean date palm, widely praised in antiquity, has been functionally extinct for several hundred years.
Most seeds won’t stay viable as long as those date palm seeds did; that took some pretty ideal accidental conditions. And yet, seeds do tend to be survivors. It’s kind of their whole deal. They sprout from the places the thieving squirrels hid them. They float away on the winds of the storm that knocked their parents down. They sprout in the wake of the fire that decimated their community. They survive the inner acids of the things that eat them, and then use the pile of crap they end up in as fertilizer.
Here’s what the author of First Peter, and I, and a bunch of plant nerds in Israel, want you to consider: No matter how you are or how you’re feeling—scorched, thieved, knocked down, blown away, eaten alive, utterly crappy, a thousand years old, nearly extinct—it’s entirely possible, maybe even likely, that something inside you, placed there long ago by someone who loves you and wills your good, is just about to germinate.
Please, God, please. Let the thing in me that I thought was long past surviving start to grow today. Amen.
Quinn G. Caldwell is a father, husband, homesteader and preacher living in rural upstate New York. His most recent book is a series of daily reflections for Advent and Christmas called All I Really Want: Readings for a Modern Christmas. Learn more about it and find him on Facebook at Quinn G. Caldwell.