In the spring, my cousin spotted a dry tree in my parents’ yard. He said that my dad would need to cut it down. It looked totally dead. The maples and poplars had long since grown lush leaves. He was right, the catalpa tree looked lifeless.
Many trees are mentioned in the Bible. What ones can you think of?
This is one of my favorites.
“And he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none. And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’ And he answered him, ‘Sir, let it alone this year also, until I dig around it and put on manure. Then if it should bear fruit next year, well and good; but if not, you can cut it down.’”
Luke 13:7 – 9 ESV
The earliest prayers I recall praying were for people in my life and I still pray them today. Sometimes when we pray, it seems nothing is happening. Will these people we love someday turn to the Lord? I know God is able. If He can take a sinner like me and give me life in Him, then I know He can bring my loved ones to repentance and Christ.
Erect and dead, these two words don’t go together for long in nature. I think of the Valley of Dry Bones.
“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the Lord and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones. And he led me around among them, and behold, there were very many on the surface of the valley, and behold, they were very dry. And he said to me, ‘Son of man, can these bones live?’ And I answered, ‘O Lord God, you know.’” Ezekiel 37:1-3 ESV
Do I know that our loved ones will know true life in Christ? Only the Lord God knows. I will continue to ask.
“And he told them a parable to the effect that they ought always to pray and not lose heart. He said, ‘In a certain city there was a judge who neither feared God nor respected man. And there was a widow in that city who kept coming to him and saying, ‘Give me justice against my adversary.’ For a while he refused, but afterward he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor respect man, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will give her justice, so that she will not beat me down by her continual coming.’’ And the Lord said, ‘Hear what the unrighteous judge says.’ And will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them? I tell you, he will give justice to them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?”
Luke 18:1 – 8 (ESV) is such a good reminder that God invites us to keep praying!
These are the words of life God gave to Israel.
Ezekiel 37:13-14 (ESV) “And you shall know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves, and raise you from your graves, O my people. And I will put my Spirit within you, and you shall live, and I will place you in your own land. Then you shall know that I am the Lord; I have spoken, and I will do it, declares the Lord.’”
We are able to know the God of Israel as well.
He is the One who raises the dead.
Yes, He is the One who calls things that are not, as though they are.
Years ago, I was saddened when the catalpa had no leaves. The other trees did. Like my cousin, I was sure it was a dead tree. This year was different. My mom and I defended it. We were confident that the tree simply needed more time and were quick to explain.
Yesterday I noticed that the word “faith” and the word “wait” share three letters.
At the center of faith is the opportunity to wait.
Not long after my cousin’s assessment of the catalpa tree, small leaves appeared. Then heart-shaped leaves came and blossoms took center stage.
Its white flowers resemble orchids and dazzle the yard when other trees have long since lost their blossoms. Beans will drape the tree later in the year.
The Catalpa was a gift from family friends years ago. That family is now walking through a cancer story. Last year, the same family friends gave my parents a few more young catalpas. We trust that someday there will be lush leaves and blossoms and those trees as well.
The majestic part of this tree is the glory that makes the wait worthwhile.
Lord God, thank You for the repentance and forgiveness of sins that you have brought in my life. I don’t deserve your love. I know you hear our prayers.
Questions to Ponder
What have you been waiting for? How does a long wait impact your faith?
Take a look at II Peter 3:9. Why is the Lord patient?
How does the Lord’s patience help you grow in patience?
This is a picture of the catalpa tree in May, just after signs of life appeared.
This is an image of the tree at the close of June.
About the Catalpa Tree
Here’s a website with more information about this beautiful tree!