I wrote this entry 3 years ago. I wrote it on my computer just for me. I read it this morning and decided to finally add the pictures and then post it here. I hope God will speak to you through these words today.
Have you ever been in that time in your life where you just don’t know what to study in God’s word. You’ve just completed a study with friends; you have learned so much new information about God, about yourself, about how others interrupt God’s word, about life. Or you’ve decided to try the new way of studying that you’ve learned about on your own to see how to really dig out what God is trying to teach you in your life at this time.
Well, that’s where I am at this point. I’ve been there about 10 weeks now. It’s been a very busy time in my life. My older son graduated from college, a cousin’s daughter was married, a nephew graduated from law school and then we celebrated his engagement a couple of weekends later by attending his party, at work we went through an accreditation, my younger son graduated from high school, and a niece graduated from high school. Through all this, I have not been grounded in a particular study so my quiet time has been jumbled which has led me down some very interesting paths, some very definitely God’s paths, but some of my very own choosing which as you may know lead to stresses that could have been avoided. I haven’t been still so that I could listen and follow but I finally slowed down enough to hear what God was saying at this time in my life and I invite you to slow down enough today to hear what I heard.
On Friday, June 12, 2009, I left my house so early, about 6:15 am. I had to buy a graduation card for my niece, nothing like waiting to the last minute, fill my car with gas, get a biscuit from Hardee’s and go to work. I chose that day to take my bible with me and have my quiet time in my car in the parking lot at work. As I sat there, eating my biscuit (don’t tell my doctor, the biscuit is definitely not on a diet to reduce cholesterol) I poured out my heart to God. You see I really needed to confess about not allowing his glory to shine through at work. It’s the hardest place for me to shine. I’m organized at work ( not very much anywhere else). I like to do things in order, maybe a little OCD, to the point that I allow myself to be very frustrated at times. So back to God’s direction. I decided to read Jeremiah and to follow Anne Graham Lott’s study method of looking at one verse at a time.
I got to Jeremiah 1:11,
“The word of the LORD came to me: “What do you see, Jeremiah?” “I see the branch of an almond tree,” I replied.”
I have to admit that my first thought was, “What do you see?” How does that apply to me right now. And then it hit me. How much am I missing because I am so caught up in whatever is happening around me, that I am not seeing what God is showing me. How much am I missing because I am not listening? How much am I missing because I am not looking?
So I looked as I sat there at what I could actually see. I read the verse and literally looked at the world right in front of me and beside me. I saw a tree.
The night before, we had a brief but pretty strong wind/rain storm. This tree lost a pretty big branch in that storm. It was the perfect example of life and of God’s word.
This branch was attached to the trunk on Thursday, standing tall and proud. Thursday night it was hit by a storm and it just couldn’t stand firm with the tree. It fell. It will never be attached to the trunk again. I got out of my car and took the picture. And then I started to really look at the tree. The branch that fell, when I looked closer had already begun to leave the trunk. The outer part of the branch had been dying but no one could see it, it was covered up by the bark and by the fact that the very center of the branch was still getting fed by the trunk. (How often do we show the world an outside that doesn’t go along with the inside)
I looked closer still and noticed because the branch had fallen, it broke other living branches as it went down. My tears began at this time.
But I looked even closer and saw the fruit of the tree on this branch and the others that were no longer connected.
This fruit would never develop, it would never go on to produce other trees, it would never accomplish its purpose. Tears trickled down my face as I stood and looked and heard my God say to me, “What do you see, Beckie?”
I saw that life is full of storms. I may be walking down the perfect path of God but there will be storms, the wind will blow. I saw that I didn’t want to be the branch that is dying and will fall when the wind is strong. I saw that I didn’t want to be the branch that causes another one to break and fall. I saw that I didn’t want to be the branch whose fruit will never accomplish its purpose.
There are so many lessons in these pictures. Look at them, look at yourself. Talk to God. Be the branch that is still standing, be the branch that remains connected to the trunk, be the branch whose fruit will grow and accomplish its purpose.