When All is Cracked and Dry
One day I shared my testimony with Diana, a stranger sitting next to me in the airplane. She claimed to be an atheist. Then she attributed all my suffering to my attracting negative energy around me. I don’t see problems as bad luck, a punishment from the Almighty. Otherwise, the Apostle Paul really hit the jackpot of bad luck (persecuted, suffered hunger, cold, shipwrecked, jailed, loneliness, no marriage). Yet, he says in Romans 5:3: “We glory in our suffering.”
Can I rejoice in my suffering? Can I bear fresh fruit in a season of drought? Do you feel cracked and dry because of pain from a loss, criticism from outsiders, tension in the home, wrestling through loneliness, or dreading where the world is heading?
Jeremiah 17 challenged me recently in church. A Christ-follower ought to produce fruit even in times of drought. “But blessed are those who trust in the Lord and have made the Lord their hope and confidence. They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they never stop producing fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT, emphasis added).
I want to be that tree — my leaves to give shade, my fruit to be satisfying, my roots to be grounded, … even in the drought. I want to be that Christian — my response to problems to give comfort, my words to be satisfying, my convictions to be grounded in truth and not the latest cultural trend, … even in my drought-like circumstances.
- Invest in My Roots (The Invisible Part of Me)
“Victories don’t come by accident.” My best days are when I set my alarm for 5:00 and start my day with my nose in the Bible and my knees planted in prayer. But, not every day turns out like that… .
Here’s what I wrote in my journal 19 November 2020: “It’s 1:00 p.m. By now I’d be knee-deep in errands, cooking, schooling, editing, meeting others… anything on my long to-do list. Not today. Today our family paused. We turned our cozy, crackling fire on YouTube with gentle piano music and declared it a Shabbat Hour. We paused. We read our Bibles. We prayed. We stopped the earthly chase, to invest in the heavenly race.”
“I say to the Lord, ‘You are my Lord; apart from you I have no good thing’” (Psalm 16:2, NIV).
- Clean My Branches (The Visible Part of Me)
I heard someone say that we each have three lives: a public life, a private life, and a secret life. We may be able to impress and even fool others of our “godliness,” yet God knows our most hidden sins. Is the godliness others see in me genuine fruit or plastic apples taped on trees?
A famous preacher with a respected name was found out to have a sinful secret life after his death. Our secret life will sooner or later spill into our private and public lives. “Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy” (Proverbs 28:13, NIV).
“Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us” (Hebrews 12:1, NLT).
here are some sins that come to us very easily. Some of us are more prone to anger, some to gossip, some to worry. What is the sin that easily entangles you? I get easily discouraged, so I am on the watch to not let my emotions wrap me up easily like melted cheese on a burger. As Lisa Terkeurst says, “Emotions should be indicators, not dictators.”
- Expect Fruit (The Invisible Made Visible)
I am a struggler just like you. I am often tempted to shrink my world to the size of my struggle forgetting that I have a faithful God on my side. Healthy roots will bring about healthy fruit.
I can, and I should bear fresh fruit even in my wait (six-year-long adoption process), in my pain (frequent hospital trips), in my unknown (in so many areas of my life), even in my drought.
“But blessed are those who TRUST in the Lord … . Such trees are NOT BOTHERED by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they NEVER STOP PRODUCING fruit” (Jeremiah 17:7-8, NLT, emphasis added).
by Naty Tully
Pastor’s Wife, International Church of Bucharest, Romania