Returning to dust

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Psalm 103:14. AMPC For He knows our frame, He [earnestly] remembers and imprints [on His heart] that we are dust.                                                                                                                

To this soil scientist living with chronic illnesses, that verse speaks deep to the soil of my soul on a daily basis. The truth that Creator God intimately knows all of creation, including me, helps me to trust Him to keep giving the strength for teaching about the soil (dust) under my feet while watching my body return to the same. If not for God’s grace, my faith would easily follow my body in going to dust. Constant pain and increasing loss of abilities keep trying their best to erode my belief in God’s plan for good (see Romans 8:28). But thanks be to God, His grace keeps my faith. And this faith continues to complement my profession and the rhythm of my days in the good gift of a niche where Scripture, science, and suffering are symbiotic. 

To me, soil (or dust) is not just a resource from which to feed, clothe, heal, or remediate the world. It’s not just something I walk on or educate others about the need to care for it. Soil is where I come from and to where I’ll return – the home now of my family farm and a picture of the new earth to come in Revelation. I identify in position and placement to and with soil, both physically and spiritually like Adam could’ve done. I don’t worship soil, much less the study of it, but working with it leads me to a closer, deeper adoration of the One Who created it and me. Psalm 111:2 captures my thoughts with The Lord’s works are great, studied by all who delight in them.

There are many signposts in science pointing straight to our Creator and our Christ, if we stop to look at them. Signposts ranging from the atomic level of the water molecule being adsorbed by a plant root hair to the huge green canopy of a maple tree actively participating in photosynthesis high overhead. I could say the same for suffering and its signposts in how they can point to God, if one chooses to see them as a path to Him. Each day in pain can be another stepping stone closer to the One Who suffered for my salvation.

Signposts can shine bright to those of us who know the Savior in suffering or the sciences. And if we see them, we have opportunity (and responsibility) to show them to others. Since I’ve been given the privilege of teaching science with faith along with living with chronic illnesses, drawing a map to God in faith highlighting these signposts is a gift I can share with my students in and out of the classroom. Students of all ages are hungry for the joy found in unearthing treasures in soil science, Scripture, and the once-before-perceived specter of suffering. They yearn for a yet unknown passion for intimacy with Creator God through knowing more of His creation and His presence in their lives in all ways, including that amazing world underneath our feet. They might not yet know the reality of dust to dust but identify with the truth that hope is found only in our Savior.

Do you yearn for the same? A greater, deeper intimacy with our Good God Who made all that we see and all that we know. I think you might. Thus, I am praying for good soil to be cultivated in your soul. A prayer that our souls together might become just like the soil we read about in Matthew 13: 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.

And trust me, I want nothing less than that 100-fold harvest in the now and the not-yet!

If this post grabbed your attention and you’re wanting more, please check out my books – Good Ground, Volumes 1 and 2 (Volume 1 now available for purchase on Amazon and other online book distributors; Volume 2 coming soon). These books are also available directly from the publisher, Northeastern Baptist Press at this link:

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Published by Beth Madison

author, speaker, learner

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