Sunday, July 20, 2014
Shabat Thoughts: Why Wait?
There are two trees outside my kitchen sitting area window, turkey foot oaks that are native to the land. Over the past 18 years it's been my pleasure to watch them in every season, noticing how unique they are and how similar as well. They are hardly more than 25 feet apart, one slightly downhill from the other, but they have been affected differently by seasons. One changes color before the other, the other blooms before the one.
This past winter the lower tree had budded, which is normal for these trees. I love to see the trees in bud. As the winter sun shines down upon them, the twigs lift up their buds to the sky. One morning, several years ago, I noted how they seemed to be raising each twig in a form of praise to God. As the winter passed, and the freezing temperatures were late upon us this year, we realized that the lower tree was not progressing in the bud stage and as Spring and early Summer came on the tree has had every appearance of being dead. We've discussed what we should do: cut it down and replant another in its place? Remove it and move on? Pray over it as we did the Faith Tree out front and wait and see?
Today in church service there was a song sung which spoke of raising hands in praise and singing Alleluias to God. It was so beautiful that I found myself with tears in my eyes. I closed my eyes to pray and in my mind I suddenly saw that tree as it was that long ago winter, raising each budded twig in an attitude of worship. I thought of how it now is frozen and black in that stage, appearing dead. I could see the corollary between my own attitude of late.
I once praised God in a worshipful way. But like that tree, I think at present I give all appearance of not being alive in my faith walk. John and I have been through a tough time spiritually over the last three years. We continue to wait for God to show us where we should be. I wondered, as I prayed this morning, why? Why have we had to sit here in the desert with not even a raven to bring us meat and bread? Why? What is God making us wait for? I see His blessings but we have been firmly halted in this spot while troubles large and small continually surround us and we have more and more subtracted from us.
Wouldn't you know the sermon series is called 'Holding Pattern', all about waiting on God? No big answers but some balm for our pain today.
But that tree has been on my mind all day long. I went to close the shades this evening and looked out. It's been raining off and on all afternoon. The sky is heavy, the grass wet and the trees dripping. The tree was gloriously adorned with beautiful round diamonds of water on each and every single dead bud. It was so beautiful that it brought tears to my eyes. The tree is frozen in that attitude of praise and sparkling as though covered with diamonds. I thought how I feel as dead as that tree appears in many ways. Is it possible that to God the tears I weep at this time in my life appear to be beautiful? Is there hope for my tree? Will it go through this season of waiting and come alive again next spring? Will my faith walk become a walk once more? I don't know. I don't know any of these things. But I'll wait.