Today on the way home from church I passed two illuminated signs that said “Extreme drought. Conserve water.” We are experiencing a severe heat wave here in Texas. I remember a similar drought a few years ago and prayed for rain. Finally the rain came, not because of my prayers, but because of God’s timing. He does all things well and we are to praise Him in all circumstances.
When I was in Costa Rica the tree in front of my house didn’t get enough water and appeared nearly dead when I returned. It lost most of its leaves and simply could not withstand endless days from the sun above with insufficient water from beneath. I started watering that tree every day hoping to revive it. Soon I could see signs of life returning. Apparently, the roots ran deep enough underground to search out enough moisture to stay alive. The tree seemed grateful.
These are difficult days with devastating reports of catastrophes, riots, economic chaos, wars and rumors of wars and the list goes on. As Charles Dickens said in A Tale of Two Cities, “These were the worst of times and the best of times.” It is only when we are really thirsty that water brings such relief. Food tastes so much better when you’ve spent a day fasting unto the Lord. When God sends relief and comfort, through the Holy Ghost, to those who are afflicted in body or spirit, a grateful heart arises. Only God can heal a broken heart. In Isaiah 28:12 we read, “To whom he said This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest, and this is the refreshing, yet they would not hear.” How does one get this refreshing? You can pray for rain but God is calling to a far higher plan. He is calling His people to repentance. “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.” Act 3:19 We are to humble ourselves in the hands of the Almighty that He might lift us up in due time.
The parallel of my perishing tree can be applied to our own lives. “For there is hope of a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that the tender branch thereof will not cease.” Job 14:7, 8 The strength of the tree is not in its branches or its trunk but in its roots. We must dig deeply into the Word of God every day. Jesus Christ is the Word of God. In Spanish the word “logos” is translated “verbo”. In the beginning was the “verb” and the “verb” was with God and the “verb” was God. How differently we who know only the English language would think of the Lord if we saw Him as the “living verb of God” manifested in human flesh. Suddenly the Bible takes on life and action for indeed Christ is the living Verb as well as the living Word. We are complete in Him. Why do we fritter so much time away on Facebook, IPhone game apps, and entertainment. The Word of God should be our true source of entertainment and joy.
Today I saw someone in church checking his email on his IPhone during the time of prayer. He probably thought that everyones head would be bowed and they would not notice, but I noticed and I thought how very sad that must have been to God who sees all. Can we not reverence the Lord more instead of treating Him so casually with all our distractions? Are we that important that we can’t miss a few minutes without hearing from family member, friend, or boss?
I want to be like my tree out front. We all get dry from time to time, when the cares of this life seem to press the very moisture out of you, but I know where to go to be refreshed. If I choose an earthly source of temporal refreshment it won’t last, but Jesus told the woman at the well in Samaria “whoever drinks from this well will never thirst again.” When we are filled with the Holy Ghost rivers of living water will spring forth from us as we are now the containers or earthen vessels that God has chosen to pour out His Holy Spirit in us to refesh others. As many as receive Him gave He power to become the sons of God.
Our hope is not in a change of our circumstances, but that we would experience refreshing in the midst of the drought, joy in the midst of grief or the loss of a beloved one. Lift us up Lord into a heavenly place where you are enthroned and revive our souls once again. Then we will continually give you praise with the fruit of our lips.
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalms 1:1-3
photo credit: Lindsey Catherine