Luke 13:6-9 – And [Jesus] began telling this parable: "A certain man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it, and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, 'Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?' And he answered and said to him, 'Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer; and if it bears fruit next year, fine; but if not, cut it down.'" (NASB)
There is a lilac that grows in my yard. Each year it has bloomed beautifully. This last year, though, something happened. In the middle of summer, a time that has been its peak, it turned brown and died. All these months we have looked at it and thought, throw it out; it looks dead. A gardener friend said it wasn't time yet. He pruned it back during the dark winter saying, "Let's wait and see."
It reminds me of a certain young lady who has appeared to have everything going for her. She had been in some trouble in the past but to all appearances had come out of it and was blossoming beautifully. She has two beautiful children and a husband who loves her dearly. This last year though, something happened. She began to do things that risked the love of her husband and the safety of her children. Because of the things in the past several people told him to throw her out; let things fall where they will; hope is dead. Her husband said, "It isn't time yet." He has "pruned her back" and encouraged her to return to the truths she grew up with as a child, and said, "Let's wait and see."
Spring has come to northern California; the lilac is budding.
Our culture has many "throw away" children who then become "throw away" parents. In our "fast-food" society we have become no longer willing to invest time and emotion into what looks like a hopeless case. And yet, as with the lilac, a small investment can prevent loss. Jesus sent his disciples to preach the good news and to heal the sick. One way we can heal the sick is to take the time to be part of the pruning process and be patient enough to wait and see.
Prayer: Lord God, we put our faith in Your Word that does not return void. Like the lilac, we trust that those who are being pruned and then fertilized with the truth of Your love will once again bud forth. Like the vineyard keeper, show us ways that a simple word or action on our part can make the difference. Nudge us to be willing so others may not be lost. Thank you for the visual applications of Your truths you give us in our daily lives. Amen.