Death, Rebirth, and Growing Like Weeds (My Redeemer Lives 1:4)

We aren’t the only things in this universe that die and rise.


As egocentric as we like to be, myself included, there is a whole world out there functioning quite unaware of any of us.

I’m reminded of hunting season. My husband is a bow hunter. He spends great time and care prepping himself to “enter the woods.” The woods is the domain of the deer. He might have dominion, but if he’d like to catch one for dinner, he needs to respect their domain. He uses special scent free shampoo, wears this camouflage suit with only his eyes peeking out, and virtually tip toes to his tree stand.

Nature is doing it’s thing, mostly unaware of us, until we make it aware. Just like us, every living thing has a life cycle. Jesus uses this life cycle in John 12 to teach us about life, death, risk, and eternal reward.

Pleas read John 12:20-26 –

20 Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. 21 So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” 22 Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. 23 And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24 Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit. 25 Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.

People want to see Jesus (verse 20), obviously that’s the most important thing! If people want to see you, if your phone notifies you of a call or a text or a message, do you feel pulled to answer?

Jesus did not (see John 12:36 for confirmation). Instead, he tells a story about a seed. I think Jesus’s message is two-fold here.

First, He is prophesying of His own death and resurrection. The preceding verses are of the Triumphal Entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, the beginning of Holy Week. The verses that follow immediately after those we read continue to speak of the necessity of the cross, the grave, and an empty tomb. All of John 12 is a powerful testimony of what is to come for Jesus and the power He holds over life and death.

Secondary, however, I believe is a parable about our lives. You see, each of us are seeds, planted by the Sower. In this parable the Greek for earth is from the root word gé, meaning earth, land, or soil. It is related to the Hebrew term for earth, asitía, a broader term connected to God. Earth is seen by way of this term as “God’s physical theater, God’s arena.” 

We are in God’s hands, living His story, whether we know it or not. Unlike the deer, God is fully aware of our entries, our exits, and our treading on His soil.

The seed doesn’t go into the soil to tuck itself into a dark and safe place. We weren’t meant to live and die alone. The seed goes into the soil and is planted for a purpose. It dies to its former life, it gives up its identity as seed, relinquishing power to the sun, the rain, the soil to be reborn. We are reborn in baptism. The Spirit comes in with Its nutrients, living moisture, sunlight for our souls, and we grow. We can muscle against all of this or let Him fully in. We can get wrapped up in how it’s all going to turn out, or trust the Sower with the process.

Commentator Matthew Henry puts it like this –

“…let us beg Him to make us indifferent to the trifling concerns of life. ”

Forget the planting, the dying to self, whether the rain falls, cloudy days or sunny days, and let’s live boldly for eternity. This space and time in dark soil or bright sunlight is so temporary.

God makes each day eternally significant.

We die and we rise in Him, for Him, and only through Him.

Seed to soil, sun to seed, today to tomorrow.

Life, death, and more Life. That is our resurrection reality.

How can we live it boldly? Tell us in the comments or join the conversation on social media. Bold resurrection death and bold resurrection life – how do you see them lived out each day in yourself and others?


Above All Names – Savior

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior,

who is Christ the Lord.

Luke 2:11

Luke 2 is the beautiful narrative of a tiny human’s emergence in this great big world. Tiny fists that would grow to bear nails meant for us. Tiny feet that would walk alongside fishermen, teachers, homemakers, farmers, business owners, tax collectors, and children. He would hold hands, start conversations, and eat among them, with eyes fixed on Calgary. It is also the narrative of a tiny heart beating wildly for those He came to save. Saving is really the work of God, of Christ, alone. He was born to save us – from death, from our fears, from our doubts. Jesus saves – tiny Baby Boy, Man convicted to death on a cross, living Savior of your heart and soul.

Bright Green is the Color of Hope – The Gift of Life in Infant Loss

Genevieve and I met on a non-discript day in September, I imagine. Genevieve and I bonded sharing a tiny little office off the chapel of Concordia University in Chicago, Illinois.

Young and fresh and full of theological ideologies just waiting to be hammer out, we spent a fair number of hours gabbing about which classes were our favorites, bad boyfriend breakups, and philosophical dissertations on the lectionary selection of the week.

We grew up. We met handsome men, who were chasing after the Lord and could keep up with our theological rants and so we married them. We grew out. We each moved. We lost touch a little. Then Facebook worked its magic on the world and we vowed not to lose touch again.

We liked each other’s feeds. We commented on recipes we thought we would each like. We rejoiced together as babies were born and ministry happened and life did its thing. Then my world fell apart, and Genevieve was there.

Never in my wildest dreams did I think it would be my turn, 3 years later, to hold Genevieve when her world fell apart. February 7th we should have welcomed Sebastian Alexander Sigmund Wagner to the world.

If the world were perfect, if Adam and Eve would have kept their grubby hands off that apple, we would have. Instead, we welcomed this precious little boy into his eternal rest in the arms of His Savior.

I created the Written in Iron Ink series of the podcast to reflect the testimonies of all the brave and courageous people I know going forth in this life and letting God write His testimony across their lives, their struggles, their joys, their losses, and their triumphs. When we go through stuff we want to know that it isn’t for naught, that God is at work, that ministry is being done, and that through it He ministers to us, and He ministers to His people.

I was blessed to sit with Genevieve and Rev. Geoffrey Wagner last month and talk about God’s work in and through the life of their stillborn son.

God has written a message on Sebastian’s tiny little life and the Wagner’s are the first to tell you that His message is Hope.

Our hands are grubby too. Adam and Eve aren’t the only ones to deal with the consequences of sin. From that day on our whole world struggles against the darkness of a world groaning for Christ to heal it. Death is our reality, and sometimes death that comes far too soon. The Wagner’s, in this podcast, help us to clarify God’s grace for the unborn, God’s work in every single life He creates, and the testimony that our Savior works for ministry to and among one another in times of grief.

Here are a few of the highlights:

Every pastor needs a pastor. Every pastor’s family needs a pastor.

Grief is an individual process and requires a judgement free zone. Spouses grieve differently from one another. Children need to grieve. Others who offer support and grieve alongside are a gift.

The promise of the Gospel is heard in the womb. We cling to the promises and the grace of God, the Word of God, rather than our own abilities and doubts. God works His testimony and ministry happens through the tiniest of lives.

I Love My Shepherd- Episode 16

Written in Iron Ink – Infant Loss

Resources for infant loss:

Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep- Infant loss photography

Molly’s Bears – more than just a teddy bear

Grieving the Child I Never Knew: A Devotional for Comfort in the Loss of Your Unborn or Newly Born Child

Share – A National Organization for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support

Star Legacy Foundation: Stillbirth Education, Research, and Awareness

At the Death of a Child – booklet on infant loss and baptism

I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy (book)