“Unless a seed falls into the ground…” What does that scripture say? We all are planted someplace, aren’t we, and watered by love and experience. We grow up and bear fruit: degrees, jobs, children, houses. But what of us? Do we remain productive, producing fruit in abundance throughout our lives? Or do we grow old and stale, our fruit no longer of use or even evident to others. What then?

Then we have a choice. Put our feet up and watch telly or its mindless equivalent (J.R.R. Tolkein spent the last 15 years of his life inventing new ways to play solitaire) or die. I don’t mean literally. It’s a figure, and one that scripture uses often. “Unless a seed falls into the ground, it remains only a single seed, but if it dies, it bears much fruit” (John 12:24).

I loved my life in Canada. I loved my job, my drive to work through the cornfields of Elgin County, my nice shiny new Pontiac G6 with its 200 watt sound system, my summers in my canoe in a northern lake. I loved my church and my friends, and our house down by the river Thames. Coming here was like a death for me, and I was not happy with the Lord for leading me here. In fact I was downright angry with Him.

Not that this isn’t a lovely place, don’t get me wrong. But I felt out of place, disconnected and ineffective. I don’t know when it started to get better. Round about December I think, when I got my course evaluation back from my students and I read how much they appreciated what I had taught them. Since then I have gone from strength to strength. There is a verse that covers this as well, “Weeping may last for the night, but a shout of joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5). 

Morning has broken. Now I can see more clearly behind me, how stale and dry I had become and how much I needed to let my life in Canada die. The Lord knew that long before I did, and was preparing a place for me here in Malaysia. I see that my struggles to come to grips with new curricula and a different age of student has rejuvenated my teaching and made it vital again. Once again I am becoming fruitful for God, and that is worth the small death I had to die to get here.

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