Ecclesiastes 3:1 – There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot. (NIV)
We have lived in our house for seventeen years. The second summer we were here (we moved at the very end of summer), a tree in the front yard did a strange thing. It blossomed with glorious pink flowers, and when it was finished flowering, it looked like it had died. The trunk had mossy growth, and the leaves curled and then fell off, leaving a grey, stick-like "thing" behind. This happened for several years, and my father-in-law insisted that the tree was dead, and should be cut down. I could not figure out why this was happening, as every spring the tree would burst back to life, and the dormant phase would come after the flowers were done. My husband thought the tree was dying, and he, too, wanted to remove it from the yard.
I persisted. I just couldn't understand why such a beautiful show of flowers would reappear yearly on a dead tree.
The tree was never dead. It is fully alive, with an outward show of colourful abundance, and a cycle when it appears to be dormant. But it is still growing and maturing, even if I can't see it happening. It has, over the years, developed into a beautiful, full tree.
I guess we're all like that, as we grow in faith, and in God's love. As I get older, I understand this much better than when I was younger. There is a season for everything, and everything happens in God's time, on His timetable. What happens to us in our faith journey also takes time, energy, and outward changes that can be seen, like seasons of growth, and quiet seasons of seeming dormancy, when nothing seems to be happening. He gives us the gift of time, to grow and develop as His people, and for that we are truly thankful.
Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the beauty of flowering trees, and for the inward changes and the outward expressions of development that all come in Your time. May we continue to be growing and flourishing for You in all the stages and seasons of our lives. In Jesus' name we pray. Amen.