I look up from my writing, through the large window above my desk and out over the back yard. I love this serene view … it’s my snapshot, at any given moment, of the world on the other side of the glass. This morning, my eyes survey the edge of the woods that circle the pool area, and I focus on three fig trees. Two of them boast prolific, dark green leaves. They stand tall among the other trees and contribute beauty to the landscape. They look strong … stately … inviting … quiet.
The third one though, looks sparse … trodden … broken. A large dead branch from a neighboring tree has fallen on it. It doesn’t stand up straight. Some of its weaker branches drag the ground … its root system is exposed. Giant ant hills populate the dirt beneath it. It does not look strong, vibrant or inviting. Interestingly, it is not quiet.
Unlike the other two, this tree’s branches are populated by birds of all kinds and colors … singles, pairs, groups. Squirrels race and make themselves at home on the bowed down limbs, spread low over the ground. The leaves of this tree have holes in them … some made last week by a large turtle, who didn’t have to reach far to refresh and nourish himself. Those leaves are much less prolific and more widely spaced than the ones of the well-endowed trees … to reveal something that the proud, lush trees do not have …
I am impressed that this tree … the scrawny one that is not perfect or even desirable by comparison … the one that doesn’t draw the praise of those who look for beauty in the picturesque … the one that bears up under the dead weight of another … is doing what the other trees are not. In spite of perceived limitations, it is faithfully bringing forth its fruit. In spite of apparent obstacles, it is fulfilling its purpose. It is giving life.
Hear the call that is being sounded to my own down-troddened heart. Brokenness isn’t about being inferior … it’s about coming to the place where you can bow low and spread yourself before God’s purposes. It’s about what He will do through you … in you. Run your race. Fix your eyes on the Author and Perfecter of your faith. Don’t grow weary or lose heart. Abide in the Vine and faithfully live out your calling … ever mindful that His strength is made perfect in your weakness.
I too, want to be the busiest place on the edge of the woods … without worrying about how I look to others. So, I will resist my urge to put netting over the tree and claim the fruit for myself … choosing instead, to look out this window each day and remember that even in my weakness and imperfection, I am called … designed by God to bear fruit and give life.
Somehow though, I think that fig tree will have enough for me too.