How Many Seeds in a Watermelon?

“How Many Watermelons?” by Jason Kotecki. Oil on canvas.

What do motivational posters, charismatic preachers, and embroidered pillows have in common?

They regularly tell us to count our blessings.

If we’re in the midst of a good day, we’d probably admit it would take a long time to count all our blessings. Maybe even longer than it would take to count all the seeds in a watermelon. But theoretically, both could be done.

This painting was inspired by the saying “Anyone can count the number of seeds in a watermelon, but only God can count the number of watermelons in a seed.”

Today is the second anniversary of the day I needed a chainsaw-wielding neighbor to help me clear trees from my driveway so I could drive to the airport for a speaking engagement. The night before, a storm descended upon our home with a terrible straight-line wind that damaged our home and devastated our property. I had to leave my wife behind in a home with no power to push aside the grief to begin the clean-up and call insurance companies.

I can assure you, it did not feel like a blessing.

That storm turned our trees into kindling and destroyed our finances. It wrought great debt and fear and uncertainty. It brought trauma to our family and nightmares to my kids.

But it was also a seed.

A seed that has since produced many blessings…

  • It connected us to some amazing people.
  • It taught us how to receive generosity from others with humility.
  • It provided us with the insurance money to buy a new roof which needed to be replaced.
  • It opened the door to new space to play ball and badminton and frisbee together.
  • It inspired us to be even more hospitable, ushering in Moonrise Movie Nights and the Wonder & Whimsy Society Family Reunion.
  • It gave us a new view, one that many agree is even more breathtaking than the one we had before.
  • It strengthened our family and bolstered our faith, bringing us even closer to God.

I suspect that dark forces were pretty happy about the storm, hoping it would destroy us. But I believe God allowed it because even though it brought a great deal of pain, he also knew just how many blessings would spring forth.

I share this not to minimize the pain any of us have experienced, but to offer a reminder that in life, pain and joy can co-exist.

Today is also Father’s Day. My experiences have led me to believe that God is a good father. He wants to hold you in his arms and give you a big, all-encompassing hug, especially if you are struggling with some great trauma of your own. I want to let you know that he is bringing forth fruit from the ashes, perhaps some of which you may already be able to perceive.

I can assure you, the full bounty goes beyond what you can ever imagine.

I’ve just shared many blessings we’ve identified from the storm we experienced. But the thing is, we’re only two years removed from it. How many more blessings have yet to be revealed?

  • Only God knows how many games of catch I’ll have with my son.
  • Only God knows all the conversations that will be had around our new fire pit.
  • Only God knows how many pies will be baked from the fruit trees we just planted.
  • Only God knows how many photos Kim will take of the wonder that will bloom there.
  • Only God knows how many family dinners will be shared from our deck overlooking the lake.
  • Only God knows how many people will be blessed and healed in some way by their time there.
  • Only God knows what opportunities and relationships will arise from this new space.

The storm was a seed that produced a multitude of watermelons.

And those watermelons are filled with seeds that will usher forth even more.

Only God knows all the things that will be made possible because of a brief moment in time when a hurricane-force wind whooshed through our life one summer day.

Only God knows the number of watermelons in a seed.

A version of this article first appeared at


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