I’m out in the yard today… remembering our God’s faithfulness!
A few months ago, I was wrestling through my weakness, trying to find a path that lead out of heaviness and into the light load of Christ. I had felt alone for sometime. Not ‘alone’ alone… I have a wonderful life! I have a wonderful wife! Tremendous friends and family, but I felt alone. I couldn’t hear the Lord. It seemed I had lost my ambition for Him. He seemed to have…left.
I tend to get fleshy in these times! I get quiet and selfish. Short and distant with my wife, snappy with my friends, and I busy myself so I don’t have to face the silence… so I don’t have to deal with my lonely heart.
And my heart is surely lonely because is craves Him. The Lord Jesus! It’s sometimes hard to see that in the moment, but when He finally responds, when my dry heart is quenched, when I wake up from a worldly slumber, I recognize what it was that I had been lacking…
But on this particular day, at the end of a particularly dry season, I had once again forgot the gospel and I felt cut off from God. I felt disqualified. That maybe I didn’t know or love Jesus… that maybe I had been fooling myself… and everyone else.
So what do you do in this kind of depression?
Naturally, you grab a chainsaw.
I tend to do a lot of my wrestling in a side room of our house looking out at a bunch of trees and other green things that are rare in these here parts, and, instead of pressing into the Lord when it is hard, I reluctantly gave in to the strong temptation to cut down this certain scraggly tree that had been begging to be firewood for over a year.
It was an old cedar tree, who’s branches were bare and twisted. The tree was discolored, and it looked like the kind of tree that if you pushed on it hard enough, it would fall right over. This tree was dead. An eyesore in it’s community of greenness.
So there I was. Chainsaw in hand, ready to take out some spiritual aggression on this old ugly tree.
The blade touched the petrified skin of the tree as I glanced up to plan for the fall…
The Lord spoke!
More than spoke. It’s like He was shouting as I stepped back and switched the chainsaw off…
And as I stared at the tiny cedar tuft at the top of this tree, I heard, “Don’t cut down this tree, Shane. It has living water running through its veins. It is not dead. It’s alive, and bearing fruit. It needs pruning and love and more pruning… but it is surely alive.”
“You are alive, Shane… there is holy blood running through your veins. I have not left. I will not leave. I discipline you because I love you. Starve the flesh, and feed the Spirit!”
And I am restored.
That old tree is still standing.
It has another tuft
So I, lead by the Holy Spirit, preached the gospel to myself for the rest of the day. Oh how I need the gospel! Pretty much just sang a song called “Embracing Accusation” over again… I think I might write it down and call it “Embracing Accusation Again.”
10For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them…
…13Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”) ~Gal 3:10-13
Thank You Lord for trees!
To the praise of His glorious grace!