The biggest frustration of my spiritual life is that the Lord doesn't work that way. As I read through the Bible, I see over and over that God doesn't have a system, and seems to enjoy breaking the rules. Look at how many second sons receive the inheritance. At the messed people He chooses to use: David, Samson, Gideon--murderer, playboy, coward. At the amazing and confounding fact that He chose to save wicked people by the sacrifice of His beloved Son. In my perfect (albeit pharisaical) system, it works like this: I read my Bible, pray, try really hard to love people and follow what the Bible says, and then God speaks to me and grows me and makes me more like Him. Ta-da!
Um, yeah, well. . . doesn't work that way. Lately I have been struggling with feeling far away from the Lord, and like I'm not doing anything effective for Him, and not connecting with Him, and just not living this great Christian life that I envision. But the blessing of liking to follow the rules is that I keep plugging away with reading Scripture (halfheartedly sometimes, quickly sometimes, without expectation usually) and praying. Why? Because I do, deep down, believe that eventually, something will happen. The Spirit will soften my heart and open my eyes and I will catch a glimpse of what the Lord wants me to see.
And today the Holy Spirit did! It's back the the beginning as I try to read through the Bible in a year, so Psalm 1 was on the docket this morning. Verses 1-3 say:
Blessed is the manThe phrase that I keep returning to is "that yields its fruit in its season". I have heard lots of messages about fruit and seasons, but in the unexplainable and wonderful ways of God, it somehow doesn't really mean anything until His Spirit nudges my heart.
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
He is like a tree
planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
Trees bear fruit when and only when they are mature enough to do so and when the season is right. A baby tree can't have fruit. According to the experts of Google, most trees cannot bear fruit for a least a few years, and some lots and lots of years. Fruit trees do not have fruit in the winter. You can guess where I'm going with this. . .
If I were a tree the past six months, I would be pretty ridiculous, because I would look like an apple tree in the winter who keeps moaning about how there is no fruit, and worrying about why there are no apples, and trying to figure out how to get apples, dangit, because apple trees are supposed to have apples. NOW. Except. . . they really aren't.
There are a thousand theological tangents that I could follow about sin that interferes with fruit, or with what is God's job and what is mine, but what I feel like God was trying to remind me was that I just need to be patient. For whatever reason, it is not my season to feel fruitful or to see fruit. He wants me to see that, just like when we look at a tree in winter, or a sapling, just because I can't see anything happening doesn't mean that nothing is. If there is something that is impeding my growth, God is the one Who WILL show that to me, but not until He deems it the right time.
I need to relax, keep seeking the Lord, and just be a tree!