“Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.”
One of my favourite snippets of the bible is the story where Samson shares a riddle to his thirty wedding companions. It’s not the riddle itself that I love, more the story that precedes it.
It’s a short account of Samson finding the carcass of a lion that he had earlier killed — a young lion that had tried to kill him – as he approached the vineyards of Timnah. When he returned and found the carcass he saw that a swarm of bees had made honey inside it — which he in turn scooped out and ate. It’s this story that sets the foundations for his famous riddle; “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” I think the reason I love it is because it presents such a striking picture of how God can work through the darkest of times. He’s the God of the turn around, the One who can create something sweet out of something that stinks of death.
For the last six months I’ve been in major transition. Our family is in the middle of moving from the UK to California which has involved change on many levels. Spiritually it’s been an odd time. The only way I can describe it is that it’s been a time of niggles. It’s not in any way a time of full blown spiritual attack (which often comes in transition) but more subtle, consistent, minor struggles. Everyday I’ve had to exercise my faith, choosing to overcome passive negative thoughts and feelings and instead walk into His victory. I think there are seasons where we ride the waves of joy, peace and grace and then, there are others where we have to seize them.
A couple of weeks back I was walking down to the beach and I heard God say; “I want to talk to you about the dandelion effect.” I’m not sure if God ever takes you off guard but He did to me that morning. Such a strange phrase, He immediately got my attention. He asked me to pursue some research and through much conversation with Him I believe He has revealed key strategy for people who, like me have been in this strange season.
So if you’re interested stay with me as I unpack what God’s taught me about ‘the dandelion effect’.
Dandelions – What the heck?
The first question I had; “Who or what do these dandelions represent?” Not being a great horticulturalist I had to do a little research on dandelions and as I found out some interesting facts the Holy Spirit began to show me what these dandelions represented.
The Dandelions are the lion’s teeth
Dandelions are weeds, not flowers. Even though their yellow heads speckle every bit of grass verge and assume the position of a flower, any gardener will tell you that they are weeds. These weeds that are incredibly difficult to get rid of – they are only killed by attacking their root. Their deeply toothed leaves gave the plant its original name in old french; Dent-de-lion meaning the lions tooth.
As I was talking to God about this I heard Him say;
“The dandelions represent the little unseen works of the enemy sown into the gardens of my people’s spirit. They masquerade as little flowers of light and often go unnoticed but in-fact they are the lions teeth that aim to slowly devour My Spirit’s fruit in your lives. They are not the storm, nor are they the fiery dragon, instead they look to blend in, sinking their roots deeply into the soil of everyday experience. They are worries, fears, negative thoughts, negative feelings that creep in so subtly many assume they are part and parcel of the deal of life. This is not so – I am a passionate Gardener who longs to cultivate beauty, wholeness and joy in the lives of My people. I want to show you how to root out these weeds. I want to teach you how to use the very thing that has been intended to harm you for your gain and your benefit. The devourer shall be devoured. What was meant for harm shall be turned for good.”
In the bible the devil is likened to a lion. Peter warns us about him when he says;
Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. 1 Peter 5:8
But amazingly, theres another scripture in Job that talks about the lions teeth;
The lions may roar and growl, yet the teeth of the great lions are broken. Job 4:10
What a promise!
Before we go any further I want you to take a moment. If you identify with any of this, then here’s a great weapon for you — a promise from Him who is faithful and just. Those little weeds that have been stealing your joy and peace, the teeth of the lion that seek to devour you, they have been broken! God wants you to have hope again that these things are not part of your life — there’s a freedom that’s due.
Getting to the root of the matter
One of the main things to know about getting rid of dandelions is that unless you know what you’re doing you can multiply them and their effect. The only way of getting rid of them is to target their root. If their heads are picked it merely stimulates growth.
I believe many of us have been discontent with those niggles in our life; worries, anxious thoughts, poverty thinking, etc. We’ve tried to get rid of them by picking off the heads but as we’ve done so we’ve found ourselves overwhelmed ‘suddenly’ with an influx of the very thing we’ve been trying to overcome. Anyone relate?
God is wanting us to understand that we must get to the root.
The only way I can describe this is to share my own story:
I know I have been given a mantle by God to carry the gift of healing. This revelation infiltrated my spirit 5 years ago as God impressed this on my heart. Since then I have had an on-and-off battle with an irrational fear of sickness — go figure! I’ve probably had two major storms in that time that I’ve overcome but in the meantime I’ve had to deal with subtle thoughts and fears that come from season to season. I’ve learnt to disciple my mind, I’ve managed to choose to ignore the lies but I’ve realised that all I’ve been doing is picking off the heads of these weeds growing in my garden. Over the past year God has given me a spiritual shovel “dig deep girl — you need to get to the roots!” This isn’t about management to make my garden look pretty — it’s about freedom! The root of this weed for me was that somewhere deep down I was struggling with unbelief. I believed in the power of sickness more than the power of the Great Physician.
For us to get rid of these dandelions we must be wise. With the help of others we need to look for the root and carefully make the offensive strike. For me, this looked like re-positioning my thinking on who God is — reminding myself of His power to heal rather than managing the symptoms of unbelief.
Show me the Honey!
Uprooting these little pests are only the first part of what God wants us to do. There’s far more justice than that. In fact, the major part of this prophetic word is that there’s honey to be found! Out of the eater (the lions teeth) there is something for us to eat. As we learn to uproot these weeds of the enemy the Father is wanting to show us that they can be used for our gain and advantage.
There are two distinct benefits that He showed me:
1. Digestive health for the body
One of the surprising qualities of the dandelion is that it’s a beneficial weed packed with nutrients. It’s used for medicinal purposes and especially brings health to the digestive system including the liver.As I researched this aspect of the dandelion the Holy Spirit immediately began to speak to me.
He showed me a number of things.
Firstly, He clarified that there has been an increased measure of the revelatory teaching gift in the church over the past 5 years — something He said was due to continue.
Secondly, He addressed an issue that I’d never thought of before — the digestive health of the body of Christ – the church. He unpacked with me how we’ve been feasting but unable to extract the nutritional benefits of the spiritual meat thats being thrown our way.
Thirdly, He showed me a vision – In this vision I saw that a whole new load of leaders were released to minister within the church. These were not leaders of the platform or large crowd but instead they were leaders based in homes and cafe’s bringing a unique gift with them — the ability to lead Gods people to digest the teaching that was coming through the church in this season.
These pivotal leaders are the ones who had embraced the dandelion effect — they weeded their garden and in turn gained a very healthy spiritual digestive system which allowed them to share the benefits.
2. Dandelion home brew
It is not new for God to turn bad things around for His glory. He’s been doing it throughout the history of the world.
The amazing promises found in Isaiah 61 just exemplify that this is one of the Father’s traits. He takes something bad or negative and exchanges it for something wonderful. Ashes are swapped for a crown of beauty, mourning is exchanged for oil of joy and as you hand over to God the spirit that causes despair He hands you back a garment of praise!
I believe if we embrace God’s wisdom and tackle these dandelion weeds that represent those subtle works of the enemy in our life, God is wanting to grant a unique gift — a potent home brew of His presence.
One of the things dandelions are used for is to make wine! It’s something that’s largely done at home by people who make their own wine. The yellow heads can be fermented with sugar, raisins and other ingredients to make a delicious white dandelion wine.
One of the analogies of the Holy Spirit in the bible is that He can come to us like wine. There are times when His presence comes and intoxicates us with joy and laughter.
God is wanting us to know that from this season of weeding shall come a season of drinking. But there are three distinct things about this particular wine of His Spirit.
Firstly, it will be made from the very thing that was forged against us (the dandelion).
Secondly, it will be a home brew. With this particular wine, I saw people experiencing His presence in their secret place with the Lord – not so much in the big meeting.
Thirdly, there will be huge diversity in the wine. Because it’s a home brew, each experience will be tailor made to the individual concerned. This is no ‘one size fits all’.
Many people in the church that have simply been worn down by these weeds. This prophetic word is to bring life and hope to those people. It’s a message from the Father saying that He’s far from distant and it’s a road map from the throne room showing that there is a destination called victory.