I’m usually intrigued by my friend Davin’s story on at least one level because he comes from a family of farmers, a dying breed in our generation, but a population that connects us no less to our biblical heritage and the symbolism of agriculture.
His life, rare as the occupational stock he grew from, is a sort of parable of farming. I’ve said previously that Davin was the wheat seed that fell—not knowing at the time, of course, that he was from a wheat farming family—that through his death he has fallen on us to give us life, to point us to his Savior in ways we couldn’t have known before he died.
But as I think about it, and as I talk with the people who knew him, the more I realize he’s also the blade of the plow in God’s hand that tills the soil of our hearts. I see it in the teary-eyed responses of others as they talk about him, and I feel it ripping through me while I listen. Before the seed would fall and bear fruit, the soil of the heart has to be opened to receive it. So Davin’s story, like the plow, rips its way through the heart, preparing it for the life-giving seed.
Before Davin died, I was probably in something of a two or three year rut. Just going with the flow, alive but not really living. I think because so many dreams had been deferred the heart had fallen sick, and in a lot of ways I had given up hope in my life. My heart was like a crusty, dry, weed-overgrown patch of land left unattended. I had given up and given in. I settled on defeat and simply quit trying.
And then Davin came in his death and ripped me into a thousand pieces. As one friend put it, “he makes you realize that we’ve all got an expiration date, makes you check yourself and ask, ‘what am I doing with my life?’” So what are you going to do with your life? This guy lived more alive in his death than I do now, cancer free.
There’s something strange about the tragedy that cuts you open like a knife, because in the end I think I’m grateful that even the bleeding reminds me that I’m alive, and I can feel again. So Davin continues to break my heart, but in a way that has made God fragrant and alive to my senses. His death is love. “If it doesn’t break your heart it isn’t love” (Switchfoot).
And finally, this is all God’s doing, the way he uses Davin however he uses him now in your life. As he is the Vinedresser (John 15), so he is the Plowman, tearing us up when we need it most so that our hearts would be able to receive the seed of gospel life that Jesus sows (Mark 4). Though painful as it tears through us, the plow is God’s mercy too, for it makes way for seed and rain and, to the glory of God, a harvest of righteousness.