Monday, April 25, 2016

Withered Roots

I have always enjoyed keeping a journal. When the journal is full , I put it on a bookshelf and get a new one . Every few years  I gather those books up, glance through them , and throw them away . I've gotten into the habit of "dog earring " the pages that I wanted to return to . Recently I was cleaning out the bookshelf, gathering the journals of the past 10 or 15 years, preparing to throw them away .  I began leafing through the marked pages of a journal that was 13 years old . 

I was reminded of the intensity of that season of my life .  I remember it clearly . I was offering up long overdue forgiveness to people who had hurt me and my family.  At the very same time the Lord was revealing a deeply rooted sin of insecurity within me.  In one of my entries I had been reading about the life of King Saul. I made  note that Saul was insecure and that insecurity caused him to be a prideful, disobedient, people pleaser.  It revealed to me the sinfulness of my own insecurity. It seemed that that insecurity ruled every decision I made - I was no different than Saul. 

Later on in the journal I was reading in Mark 11 . Jesus was hungry and he saw a fig tree full of leaves.  He wondered if it had any fruit . But when he got to the tree he found nothing but leaves and he said "may no one ever eat fruit from you again " . The disciples took note of what he said and they went on their way . The next morning they walked past and noticed the tree that Jesus had cursed was withered from the roots . Peter said "look, the fig tree you cursed has withered!"  Jesus said, " I tell you , whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it and it will be yours ." 

My prayer entry that day was, " Lord there is a fig tree in me that bears no fruit.  It's a part of me, as if it's in my DNA.  I can't do anything about it, but I believe that you can speak to it just like you spoke to that fig tree, and it will never bear fruit again . I ask you to do it . And maybe one day we might be walking past and you could show me how it's withered from the roots ".

Here I was, 13 years later reading this entry, and God was still answering prayer.  It was as if the Lord and I were walking past and he showed me that fig tree withered from the roots . I can say with certainty that I no longer am ruled by insecurities . Oh, I get insecure . And yes, I can be prideful and disobedient - but that part of me is dead. It no longer has dominion over my decisions and actions . Jesus said that the father cuts off "every branch" "that bears no fruit".  How faithful he is! 

But that wasn't all. When Jesus spoke to his disciples about the withered tree he said " and when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them so that your father in heaven may forgive you your sins ."  The Lord was showing me that my obedience to forgive those who had hurt me aided in the miracle that I had asked for.  Here was God's word revealing itself as truth to me . 

We can be certain that the word of God is true - it is full of life-giving truths...and even death-giving life!

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