Sunday, August 12, 2012

It Looks Dead -- But Is It?

It’s not often that it freezes here in the desert, but last February we experienced a week with temperatures dipping below zero. The palm trees were hit hard, most suffered, many died. In the following months, trees were chopped down all over town. Stumps in yards served as reminders of the once lavish palms, others trees were totally uprooted and replaced. Our neighborhood was filled with the shriveled giants. They looked like huge burnt-out torches. I mourned the loss of these towering beauties with stiff fronds waving like green fans against the blazing blue sky. But today, on my morning walk, I noticed that some of the palms that hadn’t been cut down were showing signs of life. Not long ago these trees looked totally dead, but now green appeared amid their brown tops. It’s hard to tell from the outside if something is alive on the inside. Faith can be like that. We may know someone whose faith has died. Maybe it’s our beliefs. When we were little we sang, “Jesus loves me, this I know,” and believed it with all our heats. But somewhere along the journey of growing up, we were stripped of that simple knowing. Maybe it’s pain, injustice, sinful longings or uncontrollable circumstances that snuck in and robbed us of our childhood treasure. Today that place in us is dried and withered. When faith dies, everything may look dead but there may still be a root of life buried deep within our heart. Don’t be too quick to declare yourself or someone you love as a lost cause. Time brings perspective, wisdom and healing. God is good at resurrections and His love blows like a soft breeze, inviting scorched ones to come back to life. And, if you’ve figured you’re just too far-gone to ever come back to life as one on His children, please reconsider. Let that early, first love, break through the hard soil of resistance and shame and find it’s way into God’s freely given light. Bloom again. Let the green shoots rise up. Rejoice that God is the good Gardener who is eternally patient. He’s never in a hurry to chop down, cut off, or replace those who’ve experienced devastation and damage. He will wait for you to come home again. As long as there is even a tiny seed of faith residing inside, there is hope, there is potential for new life.

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