As God continues to minister to me about faithfulness and seasons, He gave me a visual understanding in my spirit’s eye. He showed me a bush. But the one He showed me was no burning bush, it was a grubby little stump. Actually, it was more like a pitiful bouquet of sticks. At least, that’s what it appeared to be at first. As God showed me the pitiful, dormant bush, He then showed me the bush being planted. The bush was planted in rich, dark soil, but it still appeared like a dead bunch of sticks protruding above the surface. And it stayed that way for a long time.
But what God showed me next, was that despite the meager appearance of the bush above the surface of the soil, there was a lot going on underneath the soil where I could not see. Despite the bush’s scraggly appearance, it was indeed alive. However, all the energy and life that was within the bush was being used to form an intricate root structure within the soil. As long as the soil was maintained and the bush was regularly watered, the root foundation of the bush continued to thrive below the surface of the soil. And even though above the soil the appearance of the bush remained spindly and scraggly for quite a while, one day it inevitably began to change. One beautiful day, those scraggly pitiful sticks above the ground began to show the evidence of what had been taking place below the ground all that time. It didn’t happen overnight and the first signs of change were mere nubs that began to protrude from the wad of sticks sticking up from the ground, but over time, those little nubs transformed into glossy green leaves. As the bush matured, one day another set of nubs began to appear on it, and over time, those nubs transformed into delicious, ripe fruit.
What God communicated to me is that most of us would have just looked at that pitiful bush, assumed it to be dead and never bothered with maintaining the soil or watering it. Some may have given it a tug or two to see if it still had a root structure, then maybe would have watered it for a while, but would have given up after a short time when they weren’t seeing any results. We are a very “results-oriented” culture. We want microwave and drive-thru results when it comes our spiritual efforts. Leonard Ravenhill once said about prayer, “We want to sow radish seeds, but reap a forest of redwoods.” How true is that in our own lives?
Jesus promises that if we abide in Him we can’t help but bear fruit, “I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” (John 15:5). Jesus is the rich, dark soil of our spiritual lives, therefore when we abide in that fertile soil we are able to grow an intricate root structure that will not only tether us to the foundation of Christ, but will also provide the strength we need to weather even the worst of storms that take place above the soil. The deeper the root system, the stronger the tree. When you see a tree blown over from a bad storm, you see that the only roots that were holding it in were the ones at the surface. To weather the storms of life and to weather the storms of persecution, trial and tribulation, you gotta have some deep roots. And deep roots take time to grow.
“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.” (James 1:12)
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.” (Gal 6:9)