Friday, July 25, 2014

Praise for the cedar tree

Today's entry in Streams from the desert, a daily devotional, was very thought-provoking. The writer was describing the cedar trees of Lebanon, long prized for their strength, fragrance, and straight growth. He mentioned how the mightiest of them had withstood much wind and weather. That it offered a refuge for wildlife and sheltering shade for weary pilgrims. It rose majestically to the sky and it seemed that it would do so for many generations.

But along came the woodsman with his axe and soon the great tree has fallen and its many branches were removed. dragged to the river, It was floated downstream and delivered to a lumber yard, there to wait to be chosen. If the tree could think, it might have wondered what had happened to it and why. Along came Nehemiah, on a quest to restore the wall and its gates in Jerusalem. Just such a tree was perfect to cut into boards for the gates, strong gates that kept out evil and welcomed in good.

Do you ever feel like you have spent many years in service to church, serving on all the committees, reading the Lesson faithfully, studying to gain spiritual understanding, and then you are asked to serve on committees you would rather not, or not asked to serve at all, not elected to the Board or as a Reader? It can be frustrating when you have so much to give.

Take heart. All that spiritual growth is never wasted or in vain. God has a plan and purpose for you. You may well find great purpose in the next step, even if it seems unlikely at the time.

God is preparing the place for you that He is preparing you for.

Like the mighty cedar you are prized for your strength, your long years of caring for others, your reaching for light, your sweet personality. There may be a bigger field for you, a new territory where you are needed and where what you have to bring is going to be highly valued. You are not going to be allowed to grow in isolation. You are part of the gate, active in keeping out evil. You are the gate that welcomes a stranger to church, inviting them in for rest and comfort.

You are someone's answered prayer. Not bad, not bad at all.

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