Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Withered Tree!

This morning I read from Mark 11, today's reading selection from the Life Journal. I love this chapter for so many reasons, but this morning I am focusing on this portion:

12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

When I read this passage I can't help but wonder what Jesus was thinking when he cursed the tree! I am inclined to believe he was just so hungry and quite perturbed that the tree did not accommodate him! Funny that he expected it to when it wasn't even in season. Nevertheless, the poor tree should have been prepared at his coming! We read later:

20 In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to Jesus, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered!”

I love this so much because it always reminds me of my own withered tree experience. In the Spring of 2005, my husband and I were out back doing some yard work. We had this insanely large pear tree right off the back deck that left hundreds of pears in the yard. The pears drew in swarms of yellow jackets, bees, hornets and other spiteful insects. We hated it! We just wanted the tree gone but could not afford to pay someone to dig it up for us. So we casually placed our hands on the tree and together prayed that it be cursed and wither up and die! It was a humble little prayer and in our hearts I cannot say we really expected it to obey.
About a month later as I pulled into my driveway, I noticed the top of the pear tree had turned brown. (The tree was so large it towered over my house). I went around back to check it out. The tree was fine except for the very top. The two trees next to it were fine, only the pear tree seemed to be affected. Hmmmmm, this tree was dying from the top down! Each day it got worse and worse. It was several weeks later before I even remembered the prayer! I was in awe that this tree was obeying our command to die! Before too long, that tree died and we were able to cut it down! The laws of nature must bend and break to make room for our prayers and the supernatural desires of our hearts. I learned so much about faith from that tree. Everyday as I pulled into my driveway after a long day of work, unmet goals, disappointments, hurts, doubts, and weariness, that tree revived my spirit and quickened my faith.
The passage in Mark 11 continues:

22 “Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. 23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them. 24 Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.”

Our God is so faithful. Our faith comes from Him, He generates faith in our hearts. The more we spend time with Him, the more we have faith in His Word and His promises. Our withered tree was a sign for us, to prepare us to believe that our prayers carry power and authority. This tree was a visible example to us that God was at work in the midst of us and even the smallest amount of faith has the power to fulfill any prayer. The tree could not acquire nutrients from the ground even though our soil was rich. It could not generate energy from the sun even though it had the best spot for unobstructed rays of sunlight. It was forced to turn away the water that seeped through the ground, because of a humble prayer. All the laws of nature, the rules of this world, had to bend and break to make way for the authoritative command of His people!

It was a small example to two newly reformed believers of the potential of prayer with a foundation of faith. Go God!!!