It was just a stick with a few leaves (and that may be generous to say) when my husband planted what he called a “tree” in the ground. I laughed at it. I said, “That stick is not a tree!” My husband watered it, spoke of high aspirations for it, and tried to convince me that with time, and once the roots have dug in, that little stick would become a tree.
This was several years ago, and indeed, that little stick with just a few leaves grew into a healthy, and vibrant tree. My husband likes to remind me of how little faith I had in that tree to ever settle roots and grow into something of beauty.
When I look upon it, I often think about our own lives, and how we sometimes possess little faith that anything of substance will grow out of measly beginnings. When we look at people or situations that seem deprived of any hope, it is quite hard to imagine how powerful, beautiful, or strong that person or situation just might turn out to be.
I also think about the necessity of nurturing roots. This necessity does not just stop with plant and tree life. It also is vital for the growth and development of human beings. How many times have we all said, “That child will not grow up to be anything”, or “That person will not change”?
How many children are trying to survive in soil that lacks nutrition?
God’s Word says,
“And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.”
Scripture not only instructs us on the importance of setting roots in good soil, it also speaks to us about the importance of faith.
He asked them, “Why are you afraid, you who have little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea, and there was a great calm.
When facing difficult situations in life, it is important that we do not dwell on the beginning. We should be encouraged to consider the future, but consider it with hope. Something I have learned throughout my life, especially dealing with the trauma of my illness and subsequent barrenness, is that if we knew the outcome to every situation, or if we could know what happens in the future, faith would not be important.
Where would faith be in our lives? Or, better yet, what would faith mean to us?
I suspect that our faith would become a secondary commitment, or more like a hobby, instead of a necessity. I question if it would even exist.
When I look upon that tree that my husband planted many years ago (I can call it a tree now), the words, “Oh, you of little faith” tend to ring out in my ears. I remember the planting of that nearly barren stick, my laughing at my husband’s hope for its growth, and how my husband tended to it. And, I am reminded time and again, that from the most destitute, insignificant, broken, weak, small, and seemingly meaningless beginnings, people can grow into incredible creations. Desperate circumstances can become turning-point moments in life, if we all just loved a little more, whispered aspiring dreams, and possessed a grounding of faith in them.
That little stick grew into a tree – a wonderful, pretty, and full of life tree.
Isn’t this what the Lord wants for all of us?