Parables of Matthew Series
I find it rather refreshing that our Lord talks of the good and bad that coexist through a parable. The parable of the weeds that we look at today is full of interesting points about good and evil in our lives.
To start, the parable says that all are sleeping when the enemy comes. There doesn’t seem to be a rebuke in this, so perhaps the sleeping is part of the natural rest that we are all told to take. I find that this implies there is little we can do to stop the bad from infiltrating, or there would have been a rebuke.
So, the bad is there and it seems we cannot stop it. This infiltration is perhaps the part we call the ‘human’ part of something, we are ‘only human’ and therefore imperfect. The good and bad coexist in each of us, as we fight the sin that tries to rule in us; the good and bad coexist in the organizations and churches where we work. We see evil in the world as we turn on the news and hear of the latest mass shootings, the celebrities that are accused of wrongdoing in court again, the lies proclaimed vociferously. We are unable to escape the bad which surrounds us and grows with us. This does not surprise our Lord in the parable; he knows how to handle it and does.
The servants ask if they should not pull up all the weeds. I find it fascinating that this is an option: to eradicate the weeds that choke us, take our nutrients and water, thrive in our sun. Our Lord could have all of it removed from this world. But he does not: good coexists with bad by design. We coexist with evil by design.
We might be uprooted if the bad is taken from us, He says. We would be irreparably damaged if the weeds were pulled while we are growing.
I am reminded of the biomes that have been built and the trees that they plant, but do not survive. There is a biosphere that is now part of the University of Arizona, which was constructed to study plant life and hopefully learn how to improve upon our natural world, called Biosphere2. The biggest lesson was actually the importance of wind in a plant’s life. The trees that were in the biome collapsed because they were not stressed enough to compensate and grow the strengthening wood necessary for continued development. The trees never fully matured, they collapsed before they could finish the growth cycle. (1)
Our Lord who created the laws of physics that rule this planet, already knew this. He knew that the stresses are what make plants and animals thrive and have productive long lives. Our words of encouragement in adversities, when we experience the bad of this world, all speak of us being stronger in the end. We will be stronger in faith through and after the trials of life.
Like plants and animals, we too need the good and the bad to thrive and lead productive, long lives. The servants could have removed all the bad, but were told not to, because we need adversity to grow and thrive. The struggles of life and the evil we find in it are part of making us into His design. Each of us has our adversities and our own character that we grow into, as He intended. Then in the end he will take away all the bad and gather us to himself.
It is a hard thing to as joy, but in faith, I know that all the bad of this life and this world is part of his design. He is sovereign over this too as we grow into the people He designed.
(1) www.aewsci.com/the-role-of-wind-in-a-trees-life, as of 5 Aug 2019