Friday, September 16, 2016

Dry and Uncomfortable

They say there is nothing new under the sun. And when I say "they" I am not even sure who "they" are supposed to be. It is one of those statements which one hears over and over again- but to what meaning? It is like a question which I was asked in my philosophy class: "try to think about something without shape or form. In both the idea sense and the physical." So far the only answer which I have been able to come up with is nothing. Perhaps there is something and perhaps there is something new under the sun, but I do not have the answer as to what.

I have been aching for something to write. Paining to feel that energy surge through my brain, causing my fingers to move with fluidity and form a comprehensive sentence. But I have been rather at a loss. It feels as if my most frequent path has been a bit dry lately, with an occasional oasis to stop by from time to time to rejuvenate. Up above there is always the sky- extending into seemingly eternity. Looking up, there is always the opportunity to catch an exciting air of hope- for the Maker of the skies is my Maker too. But it is so easy to forget to look up. It is so easy to merely notice the dry, mundane, constrictive quality of a desert. This morning, though, I am seized with the urge to write. And what I write is by no means new. In fact it has old roots- at least as far back as the New Testament in the Bible. And just yesterday, I read another's parallel version of an idea similar to this. But perhaps, just perhaps, my little twist will put an idea into a light where it can be seized and run with.

This morning I was going through a Bible study packet for a Bible study I am doing with some other girls. One of the sections encouraged participants to create some sort of illustration or story which helped to summarize prominent points in the book of James. After thinking a bit, I decided I was going to try a tree. A tree generally fits well as an illustration of a variety of things in the Bible.

For about thirty seconds I considered making a visual illustration of a tree. I abandoned this idea as soon as my tree began to look like broccoli. So instead I turned to the area I am generally a bit stronger in and began to write. And from my journal, I decided to hone in my thoughts a bit more to what I have been feeling lately and so here I am.

Image result for free fruit tree images
Photo Credit
Using James as a spring board for my initial idea and wandering around a bit, I suppose you can say we are the trees. Our roots run parallel to faith- the question is what have we grounded ourselves in and what nutrients are we being fed. Now if we belong to God, He is the Tree-tender. The nutrients and water He supplies can cause our roots to extend and gain strength. A direct result of the nutrients we absorb is the fruits which we produce. If we take up good, wholesome nutrition, we naturally will begin to produce good, wholesome fruit. But there is a catch. See trees are not made out of just root, trunk, and fruit- they also have branches which are generally crowned with leaves. Now of course we do want some of these leaves. But sometimes it is time for the leaves to be pruned off because they are using too much nourishment from the soil. These leaves can be both seemingly good occupations in day to day life or sin. The point is, if we have too much energy being directed into our lush leaves, we have little energy left to direct towards developing useful, wholesome fruits. Now God is our Tree-tender and from time to time I think He decides it is time for us to put away different things in our life. If it is sin, I think He will weed it out if we let Him. But I also think there are other distractions in life He can ask us to put away because they have become what we run to and that from which we get relief and comfort. Sometimes this pruning can leave (no pun intended ;)) us feeling as if our very limbs are being wrenched off. Sometimes it hurts because our distractions have become so much of who we are that we are not even sure how to keep going without them for relief. And this can lead us into feeling as though we have suddenly landed in a desert. Without our comforts to run to, we have to learn to run once again to our Savior. And though this is terribly uncomfortable, I suppose we have to choose to acknowledge that an "end intended by the Lord" does exist and that "the Lord is very compassionate and merciful." (James 5:11) What He has for us is so much better than what I have for me: because what I have for me involves settling and being comfortable. What God has, I do not fully know, but I can know that He knows what He has for me and that He is compassionate and merciful. He is the one who has perfect wisdom, perfect planning, and perfect love for me. He loves me enough that He wants to finish the work He has begun in me, even if it ends up a bit uncomfortable or painful for a time. 

Now the question for myself is, "am I going to let Him work in me? Am I going to let Him prune me and trust Him to lead me where He has intended me to go? Or am I going to pine for the distractions and sin which He is removing from my life and refuse to lean into Jesus?"