Monday, March 23, 2020

A Parable for Perilous Times

The trees were happy.  They were content; they had beautiful green leaves for most of the year and fruit in the fall.  They loved to praise one another for their splendor. Birds built nests and children climbed high up into their branches to pick the fruit. The trees loved to hear their laughter as it echoed throughout the forest.  It was a peaceful and serene place and the trees stood tall and proud in their beauty.

Although they didn’t know it, disaster was just around the corner.

It started small.  Just a few weeks without any rainfall.  The trees told one another that it couldn’t last but a few weeks turned into months and months turned into years.  The birds stopped building nests and children no longer came to climb in their branches.

They became only shadows of their previous selves.  Their leaves turned brown and died and they couldn’t even remember when the last time was that they had produced even one tiny piece of fruit.  Their branches began to shrivel, and they knew all it would take to topple them would be a tiny gust of wind.

 Soon whispers began to spread among the trees. 

There was one tree in the forest that was not like all the other dying trees.  Word was, this tree had beautiful green leaves and continued to produce fruit, not just in the fall but all year round.  How could this be?  The trees wondered.  How could this tree be so different from them, after all it was experiencing the same drought as they were.  What secret did it possess?  The trees reasoned that if this tree could flourish in the middle of the hardest drought they had ever known, than maybe they could too.  So the trees in the forest began to pressure the surrounding trees to discover the flourishing tree's secret.

One of the trees close by, finally got up the courage to ask the thriving tree what his secret was.  Why were his leaves so green?  How could he produce fruit ALL THE TIME? 

The tree replied, “It isn’t a secret.  My roots just run down deep into the water.  The hidden water which you can’t see but runs deep below the forest floor.  This water runs pure and clean even in drought and it satisfies my thirst and produces continual fruit in me." 

"But let me just tell," the tree continued. "If you want this too, it won’t be easy, letting your roots run down deep, takes perseverance, focus and plain hard work.  It’s so much easier to settle for the easy rainwater on the surface.  But I’ve discovered something, the hard work of letting my roots run deep into the living water, is where I’ve found life and hope and peace.  And when the drought comes and the long months of heat linger on, I have nothing to fear.”  

This is what the Lord says: “Cursed are those who put their trust in mere humans, who rely on human strength and turn their hearts away from the Lord.  They are like stunted shrubs in the desert, with no hope for the future.  They will live in the barren wilderness, in an uninhabited salty land.  But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence.  They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water.  Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought.  Their leaves stay green and they never stop producing fruit.  Jeremiah 17.5-8

Spilling His Grace,