PULLING BACK THE LEAVES

on April 10, 2020

So many of us feel like we are in a valley right now. Comforts, routines, and normalcy stripped away. During this time of quarantine, what are you learning about yourself? What do you hear God speaking as you navigate homeschooling kids, unemployment, a new social calendar, working from home, or just change in general? Are you excited by this time, or do you feel hopeless and alone? 

I recently read the story of the barren fig tree in Matthew 21. The story is about how Jesus was hungry and noticed a fig tree on the side of the road. When He approached it, there were only leaves, no figs. He cursed the tree and said, “May you never bear fruit again.” 

Woosh. I don’t want to be a tree of just leaves. You know, all covered up, looking perfect but with nothing to show for it. 

In 2008, I worked at a PR agency in NYC. I had my family nearby, good friends, and a boyfriend or two along the way. My life felt full. But one by one, everything fell apart. I lost my job due to the recession. I got dumped by someone I cared for and felt disappointed and betrayed by some family and friends.

Even though I had a broken heart, you would have seen a put-together girl with a smile on her face. Back then, if you dug through the leaves on my tree, you wouldn’t have found any figs. 

With time, the Lord has gently helped me come a long way in this area. But even still, I want to look like I’ve got it all together, even when I don’t.

 

- Nicole Edwards

In this season, I’ve been able to quiet the distractions and get honest in front of God. Normally, our calendars are bursting at the seams. Trying to keep up at an exhausting pace. I realize that maybe I’ve been holding up a bunch of fake leaves to keep everyone else happy. I would post the perfect picture on Instagram to commemorate that fun afternoon, with a filter, of course. And while I was truly happy, I was exhausted.

In a video devotional from Church of the City, Pastor Matt Smallbone described how prayer is simply “an honest dialogue between you and a God who can handle it.”  He can handle it. Even if it feels ugly, fruitless, and like you should be further along. Give your struggle to God and see what He can do with it. Nothing surprises Him or will make Him love you less. He already knows, and He’s already given you Grace for it.

Dear God, thank you for opening my eyes to so much in this season. Father, I ask that you cover every person who feels alone. Give them a tangible way to feel you as their Friend, Father, Provider, Healer, Miracle Worker. You are right beside them right now. Put someone in their path to help them remember this truth. We ask that you cover us in protection and heal those who are sick and struggling. In your Holy Name, we pray, amen.

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