“In the secret and still places of our lives, our Lord is at work, slowly but surely growing his life within us.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – August 28, 2021
I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor. 1 Corinthians 3:6-8, NKJV
This past spring I attempted to beautify the land surrounding my home by planting a handful of trees. Given that our family has moved over ten times in the past fifteen years, this was a significant moment for us, laying roots that will take decades to reach maturity. It is our hope and prayer that our Lord will allow us to stick around and grow old in this place, giving the gift of rootedness and stability to our children and, God willing, grandchildren.
But for now, let’s return to the trees. We planted several bare root trees, which if you’re not familiar with the term, seems to the uninitiated to be a cruel joke, receiving a bag of sticks in the mail and then carefully planting these sticks in the ground. While all documentation assured me that these were, in fact, living trees that would flourish over time, I was skeptical to say the least. However, sure enough, the red maple and tulip poplar began to sprout leaves within a few weeks, revealing to the world the life that previously lay dormant within. I also planted two pecan trees, and it is these that offer the wisdom for today’s reflection.
I spent over two months watering and tending to barren sticks in the ground, believing they would one day become pecan trees. While everything around them burst to life as spring arrived in full glory, they did not budge. Not one bud, not a single glimmer of hope or possibility. And yet, out of the blue, when I was convinced beyond the shadow of a doubt that they were done for, I came outside to find three leaves on one of the trees.
Though it was imperceptible to the outside world, life had been growing within this seemingly barren and lifeless tree.
In our own lives, it often takes a long time for the fruit of the Spirit to work its way from the inside out into the world around us. In your own life, or in the lives of those you love, you may be frustrated by the speed of growth. You may be convinced that there is no growth at all, that new life is simply impossible. And yet, today as we reflect upon this simple pecan tree, let us believe that in the secret and still places of our lives, our Lord is at work, slowly but surely growing his life within us. Do not rush the process of spiritual development. Give it time and trust the Lord with the growth.
Father, even when we cannot see, help us to believe that you are bringing forth new life within us and in the world around us, we pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Where are you most impatient with the process of spiritual growth? Reflect today on the long-range view of formation, trusting that God is at work even when you cannot see it.
Robbie Seay Band: Psalm 3
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