I pride myself on not being gullible. Yet, there are times when my trusting nature can get the best of me. I just came out from a situation like this. It took me a couple of days to say, no more! It was tough, it was disheartening, and it was daunting. But with God’s guidance, I’m moving through this new slight change in my life with much effort and poise.
My trusting nature caused me to believe everything I was hearing. I knew better. You see, I believed not in the situation, but the person who delivered the message. I saw this individual as a child of God; therefore, I should just trust. Uneasiness pursued me. It was unyielding. It was uncomfortable. It caused much discomfort within me. In some moments of the experience, I felt numb. Though, in these instances, I am in awe of what God can do for my spirit, my mind, and for all of me. Wonderful friends shining Jesus’ light helped too. God stood up for me. He called me to be prudent, and not fall into the river of deceit. He is powerful!
Looking back, when I was married, based on my ex-husband’s college football coach position, I used to always hope my family could stay long enough in one place for me to be able to see the apple trees I planted bear fruit. For a farmer to receive good tasty heirloom apples, this process usually takes an average of about three years. I was able to see this once, and it was breathtaking, magical, and quite profound. I just wanted to sit and watch the apples on the tree, as they fed the birds, deer, and squirrels. I finally picked one, rinsed it off, and bit into it with sweet juices falling down my chin. I can still feel the stickiness of this nectar, which I then identified as God’s unfailing love. It was sweet. So sweet, as His pure love.
People who may not study or better yet, understand the nature of most apple trees, may find them to be useless after the first year without fruit. Comportments of immediacy, are evidences that trusting God’s process in all things is occasionally not the norm. Society tells us to get ahead, we should be curt, impatient, rude, untruthful, and ungracious. The saying “nice people finish last” was one quite popular in the early 80’s and 90’s. Now, social media tells us this, based on the behavioral patterns of some conscious bullies, and more or less blatant untruths. Blatant untruths to my face, is indeed elements of this story…
This composition draws on the Parable of the Jealous Seeker (Ezekiel 8:1-8) with hints to the Parable of the Vine Branch (Ezekiel 15:1-8). Idleness brought forth numerous cons the people of Israel played right into. When God appointed Ezekiel to deliver His message, the lessons they received caused the people to complain that God was being too harsh. God then showed Ezekiel exactly what they were up to (8:15). In the entrance to the north gate the idol of jealousy stood. Beyond this, the people were practicing acts of idolatry, perversity of the human heart, elders burning incense to detestable beasts, crawling things, and of course more idols (8:7-12), the women weeping to Tammuz (8:13-14), known as the the god of vegetation and fertility, and men worshiping the sun. Ezekiel saw it all for himself and even took his position more seriously as he continued to deliver God’s message, with great force in his denunciation and repetitions. And, the people grumbled.
Ezekiel during his delivery saw Israel as a Vine which, at the time, proved to be useless, because of the consistent and uncouth behaviors displayed. Yet, God’s pity saved and cared for her (16:5-6), and greatly blessed her with gladness (Psalm 105:45). Still, Israel was like an unfaithful spouse. A nation at the time, not interested in keeping its vow to God. A Vine failing to yield any fruit.
My apple tree bore fruit. I tasted the sweetness it provided. I, the faithful spouse was given that joy. Because, I studied about the nature of apple trees, I never complained to God on why they took so long to produce. Biting into the fruit was a glorious experience…one produced from faith and belief in His richness and glory. As a Vine myself, and a child of God, He wants me to bear fruit in His honor (Matthew 21:33-41; Mark 11:12-14). To shine His light even in moments I feel defeated. Moments like right now, leaning toward such vulnerability and feelings of despondency! Sharing with my friend CL on our Monday chat, on the idea of coming home to someone who understands, who strokes my head and who says “It will be okay”, would be kind of nice at times. He agreed with me then, as I know he does now. And, close friends SDD and MY, your listening and care have both been crucial. My honesty during this process, has been raw; yet, real. And, you’ve listened with great harmony.
On honesty, Henri Nouwen declared:
“There is a false form of honesty that suggests that nothing should remain hidden and that everything should be said, expressed, and communicated. This honesty can be very harmful, and if it does not harm, it at least makes the relationship flat, superficial, empty, and often very boring.” (Nouwen, 2017)
Yes, it is my belief that the inner sanctuary of thoughts should be limited only to what is necessary to share. A minor prevention of exposing sacred contemplation residing only in nāós. Some may say that complete honesty holds integrity. Honesty in feelings… yes. But, I maintain, there are some things only God should know.
“Just as words lose their power when they are not born out of silence, so openness loses its meaning when there is no ability to be closed. “ (Nouwen, 2017).
Spreading God’s truth into the world is a serious task. And, like Ezekiel, I may become mute prior to deliverance. But when I really listen to God I can hear Him say ,”Your mouth will be open, I’ll make sure of it.” When opened, I set thy face (15:7). When opened, I write.
Elements of disappointment covers me for a little while now. However, I know that these feelings though existent, are not who my Lord and Savior is. I remember that the unkind behaviors of others are not about me. They may include me, but will never be a part of my legacy. My only concern is to be Jesus’ disciple. My human side exist in the here and now, but my spiritual side is eternal. My human side is relatable, and shows that if I’m pinched too hard, I will surely bruise. Attempts to trample me, could hurt! All, validations that as a Vine, I must digest and apply God’s truth, before I can distribute it into the world. God’s truth, promises, protects, and heals. The Lenten season offers such copious examples of His love.
My Lord and Savior hurt, by the behavior of Israel. I hurt presently, because of the behavior of others. Like God, I forgive. With forgiveness, my heart is lifted. In faith, I am renewed.
Heavenly Father, thanks for showing me you are alive and ready to fight my battles. Battles foreign to me and those that have tendencies to creep up on me. Your amazing love blankets my soul to warm my aching heart. As spring approaches, I begin to see the bird friends of last year return to me as if to say, “God’s got you. He has us too“. Friendly reminders of who you are. My heart skips in preparation for our daily company. I look forward to you! Amen
Listen to me read this prayer:
Source: Nouwen, H. (2017). You are beloved: Daily meditations for spiritual living. New York, NY: Convergent Press