Skip to content →

the fertile paradox Posts

ethiopia in troubled waters

I am excited to see that the US has sent troops to help in the Ethiopian flood crisis. At times like this, it helps to remember that there is some notion of human compassion in our military despite our current crises…

As an engineering student interested in water resources and environmental stewardship, it is difficult to stomach such disasters as the current flood crisis in Ethiopia. While no country can expect to avoid such disasters altogether, we in wealthy, industrialized countries often forget how fortunate we are to live in countries where the power of water is harnessed. Unfortunately, for poorer countries such as Ethiopia and many others with water whose power has not been tamed, such a necessity for life can often claim the lives of those who may at times also despair for it.

As I have been doing some reading recently about water resources problems, especially in the developing world, I think there are some explanation for these issues. Among a myriad of explanations are found a global lack of technical knowledge necessary to address these problems and an unwillingness to promulgate sustainable water resources and sanitation infrastructure solutions.

I believe these catastrophes demonstrate to us that we as a global community still do not possess the knowledge required to address these concerns. We do not have the expertise to address the sophisticated hydrological and water resources problems that plague much of the planet; the recurring stories of flooding and drought consistently testify to this. While some of these problems may be chalked up to the whims of nature, many of these problems owe to the fact that countries who have the resources to attempt to tackle these problems cannot familiarize themselves with the intricacies of such formidable challenges as are present in areas of the world with highly variable hydrology.

Some of the magnitude of these problems can be linked to the lack of sustainable solutions for water resources and sanitation infrastructure. Some reasons cited for this include widespread corruption and lack of adequate management institutions, investor and community risk aversion, and the substantial investment of time and money required. I think none of these excuses are acceptable, and personally think there is no explanation that can preclude our responsibility to require the development of these resources in places where they are lacking. As far as the prohibitive monetary and temporal costs involved, we cannot afford, as a global community, to be deterred by such daunting challenges. Truly, water infrastructure is a prerequisite to the social and economic development of any culture, yet we in the aid-providing community consistently advocate short-term, small-scale solutions to problems that require full-scale, long-term sustainable approaches to these problems. Corruption and community and investor risk aversion are social issues which have immesurable influence on the difficulty involved in solving water problems, however I am not convinced that these are acceptable reasons to quell our pursuit of the advancement of water infrastructure development.

Leave a Comment

#4

on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand…

this week, as i was walking through the “bog people” exhibit at the carnegie museum of natural history, i really needed to remember that verse… the second verse especially touched my soul, because i know that recently it’s been very difficult for me to feel the presence of Jesus, to sense His transforming power and the indwelling of His Spirit… it’s been difficult for me to be obedient—matter of fact, i haven’t been obedient lately as far as evangelism goes; and it has been very difficult to control the influence that purely random thoughts have on my mind… very disturbing random thoughts and things that dishonor God and would not have him take His throne in my life… thoughts that shake the very foundations of my life and my faith in Him… thoughts that question the sovereignty of God in Jesus Christ and his ultimate and supreme governance and providence over the entire created order—including, and especially, eternity… thoughts that would have me distrust God with my life and death, treating them as separate though they are all part of the same life in view of the Gospel…

on Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand, all other ground is sinking sand…

as i thought about this verse (after pastor curtis mentioned the song during his sermon today) i realized that Christ’s grace remains unchanged and ultimate even when I do not feel Him near, or even when I cannot focus and direct my thoughts. i truly am thankful, even though i cannot say i’ve achieved ultimate resolve in my faith at the moment… i am truly thankful that Jesus is worthy of my unmitigated desire and trust. i thank God that in spite of the wickedness that seeks to sift me every moment of my life, that i can rest on, and am called by the name of Jesus.

when darkness veils His lovely face, i rest on His unchanging grace…

this brings my soul so much joy, just to know that the grace of Jesus never changes, and that it is my only claim to safety and wholeness. without the redemptive death, resurrection, and victory of Jesus Christ, i confess that i truly am nothing, especially in light of the fact that i cannot even control all of the forces at work inside of me (much less outside of me). i realize that despite my flesh trying to take a last ditch stand against the new person Christ has created inside of me, His grace never changes—always protecting me, guarding me, guiding me, sealing me…

and let the peace of God, which transcends all human understanding, guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus…

this brings me to this next line. i’ve been trying to know this verse for some time now… because i want to know that peace which transcends all human understanding. it’s this peace that will allow me to be certain about anticipating eternity in the presence of God… this peace will keep me resolute in the face of the godless schemes of the enemy… this peace is so important because it will strengthen me to stand on the solid rock of Jesus Christ. i’m most intrigued by the “guard your minds” part. i definitely want God to guard my mind such that i experience peace beyond all human understanding…

Leave a Comment

>the solid rock… be encouraged

>my hope is built on nothing less
than Jesus’ blood and righteousness;
i dare not trust the sweetest frame,
but wholly lean on Jesus’ name.
on Christ the solid rock I stand
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand…

when darkness veils his lovely face,
i rest on his unchanging grace;
in every high and stormy gale
my anchor holds within the veil.
on Christ the solid rock I stand
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand…

his oath, his covenant, his blood
support me in the whelming flood;
when all around my soul gives way,
he then is all my hope and stay.
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand…

when he shall come with trumpet sound,
o may i then in Him be found,
dressed in His righteousness alone,
faultless to stand before the throne.
on Christ the solid rock I stand
all other ground is sinking sand,
all other ground is sinking sand…

the solid rock; by Edward Mote

Leave a Comment

#3

this week, i’ve been doing a lot of thinking…

i’ve just been allowing laziness to get the best of me, though. i could’ve been much more productive with my studies, letting opportunity after opportunity to get ahead in my research and my assignments slip from my fingers. i’ve been letting the feeling of tiredness dominate my decisions, and pleasure dictate what i’ll allow myself to do…

this may seem natural to some folks, but it’s mission critical time just now…

just now, it’s time to increase my efforts in research. january is quickly approaching, qualifying exams in hand, and i must be prepared… it’s time to increase my focus in study. the semester is approaching an end, and the typical final examinations must be completed… i should make sure that my gifts and things are ready as the holidays are near, and it is exciting to look forward to meeting with my family and friends…

but it’s mission critical time now… and that mission is to prepare my mind and heart for evangelism and ministry…

let me revisit what i’ve already said, because i do view my academic work as ministry, and i am planning some very special things in that regard; however, it is time for me to leave my comfort zone even further behind… as i’ve considered how much i’ve ignored what obedience to God really entails, i’ve become more and more assured of my responsibility for evangelism and sharing my faith, and for being more involved in my church… to speak up and seek out the ministries that i want to be involved in or that occupy a place in my heart…

so, it’s mission critical time now…

it’s time to make evangelism a part of my lifestyle.

that’s why we’re getting a group of people together to go out in pairs and do some evangelism on CMU. i’ve been talking with rev. prentice at mt. ararat about an evangelism/outreach ministry and a discipleship arm in the new members’ ministry. why i asked about whether or not there’s a missions emphasis at mt. ararat, or asking what we do for the homeless…

it’s mission critical time now, and i need your company…

if you’re reading this right now, please pray for me as these things are things which intimidate me deeply. quite honestly, i care too much about what people think of me to do this stuff of my own strength or motivation. i don’t know which opportunities to pursue, or how there’s going to be time for everything. so just lift me up in prayer…

it’s mission critical time.

Leave a Comment

#1

i decided i’d use my first blog to welcome you to the page and let you know what all this is going to be about…. here, i’ll give you all a chance to peer into my life just a little bit, especially into what i’m experiencing as my life lived out in Jesus Christ unfolds before my eyes, at his command…. i want to let people know that i experience the uncertainty, i experience the pain of doubt, but that i am also assured that transformation is taking place, that my mind and heart are being remade…

my page is named “seed.planted” because Jesus said “unless a seed falls to the ground and dies, it will bear no fruit… but if it falls to the ground and dies, it will bear much fruit…” my life has been planted, and God has done what only he can do: allow me to die to my flesh and be born again by the Holy Spirit. now, what this all means, i’m still learning each and everyday. this explains the address of this blog: “fertile-paradox…” certainly, the word of God which brings salvation to all who believe has fallen on fertile ground; the paradox of course is that my life often exhibits such selfishness, doubt, death, and disobedience that is not the fruit of a life of faith… i have realized my life is a paradox because, while God gives us ultimate responsibility for the fate of our souls, we are at the mercy of forces which are far beyond us… but we can also serve a God whose power is far beyond ours!…

One Comment

#2

so, someone needs to tell me why i’m awake at 4.28am on a saturday morning…

i was watching a movie about dietrich bonhoeffer’s resistance to the extermination of the jews in nazi germany, and i was moved by a number of things. the most striking thing about the movie for me was the juxtaposition of truth and deceit, evil and goodness, loyalty and betrayal, all in the same piece. many times, they were displayed in the same man. it made me think for a second: “how attached should we be to our lives as we know them now? exactly how precious should we hold this life? how far should we go to satisfy, or extinguish, the desires that naturally dwell inside of us? and what does it take to truly be ready to die?”

God has been allowing me to see the radical wickedness that dwells in my flesh at the same time that the Holy Spirit dwells in my body. the movie and all of its paradoxes made me think about how fear grips me from time to time, yet the Bible urges me to be resolute when trusting God with eternity. sometimes, fear grips me so much that i can’t even sleep (hence, the insanely late timestamp on this blog)… for me, true faith is the hardest thing; and time is what makes true faith uncomfortable. i know this is a journey that lasts a lifetime, but am i the only one who wants to experience eternity in this lifetime? sometimes i find myself wanting a preview from God concerning our transition from this life to the next; then i remind myself that faith does not demand an explanation from God, but that our belief and actions are not only hope but also evidence of the truths we have not experienced yet…

Leave a Comment