Recently, I was taking my daily walk. I made my way through the streets of my neighborhood to the new neighborhood adjacent to mine. My heart dropped a bit as I noticed the stately oaks and pines were no more. As each tree fell, I wondered if this was really progress. Does every neighborhood have to be cleared completely of every tree? I was sad to see them fall. As I was homeward bound, I had this thought: every building project has to have groundwork done before the building can rise. Every land has to be cleared; every foundation must be built in order to have a secure footing.
In my season of preparation (as I like to call this time), the groundwork has to be done. The pruning, the fertilizing, the preparation for bearing fruit is essential in order to build a lasting legacy. I don’t have kids so why am I concern with a legacy? There are many people who are watching how God works in my life. Probably ones I don’t even know are watching and those are the ones where the legacy will be planted. My footing has to be secure. My solid rock must be laid before the beauty can rise out of the ashes, so to speak. I don’t know yet the building that is being planned but I know this: Jesus is always building His church. I have felt for many years that Jesus is doing something wonderful in the Body of Christ. There are “dry bones” coming to life. There is an army of Christ’s soldiers preparing for battle. And maybe a woman will be in charge to lead the way – hey, it’s happened before (look at Deborah in Judges 4 and 5).
I’m not saying I will be in charge, but I know God has placed me here in this time, and in this place for a greater purpose than collecting trinkets that will not last. He has a purpose designed for each one of us but the groundwork has to be done. The Breath of God has to be placed in us in order to empower us to do the work we are called to do. We have to surrender to the Holy Spirit as He leads us to make the changes necessary in our hearts. Surrender. I have never liked that word. It sounds so weak. But I have come to realize it takes someone strong and courageous to surrender to another authority greater than our own. It’s hard to do. When we believe we can handle all our own problems, we stand in the way of something greater. God’s plan. It’s the plan that we need to surrender to.
As I finished my walk, the thought of the trees came back to me. I heard a story of the mighty trees of Lebanon being cut for the temple of God in the original building program. The trees were not sad to be cut because they knew they were going to be used to glorify God. They had a greater purpose. I don’t know the fate of the trees from the adjacent neighborhood, but I have a feeling they will be sold for a new purpose. I know many days I sit at a table that was once a tree. I have offered many blessings as I have sat at my table. In a way, I guess the table did have a part in glorifying God.
“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. Matthew 7:24-25