"Oof! This azalea is tenacious!"
Its roots so deep, and combined with the mid-day heat and poison ivy lacing through its tangle of branches my dream of relocating it for better spacing in our front hedge begins to fade.
Silly I guess, to say digging an azalea and moving it is too hard. I am prone to give up too easily and too soon, and maybe, just maybe, at some point I could enlist some help. Part of the glaring problem in conquering difficult tasks is my lack of determination to get'r done. In some things though, it is my genuine lack of strength and willpower.
"It is God who works in [me] both to will and to do His good pleasure…[and let] those of us who are mature think this way, and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal that also to you."
Philippians 2:12; 3:15 [ESV]
Forgiveness is difficult
Jesus used two metaphors for extreme difficulty. One was a mountain; in fact He used two different mountains that carried deeper inference for His audience, and on at least one occasion, a mulberry tree. If you were a first century gardener tasked with removing such a tree you would have gotten His point immediately. Their roots make removal especially difficult. A backhoe might help, but then, well, yeah, there was a shortage in Israel at the time.
Some things like forgiveness are too difficult to comprehend overcoming. We are neither able to perceive a way through, nor imagine the means to remove our particular obstructing obstacle.
"Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, I repent, you must forgive him."
The apostles said to the Lord, "Increase our faith!"
And the Lord said, "If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, 'Be uprooted and planted in the sea', and it would obey you."
Luke 17:3-5 [ESV]
The other side of the point in Jesus' use of the mulberry metaphor beside finding uncanny strength for forgiveness was to point out that when we are confronted with a person that ought to be cast into the sea with a millstone around their neck (Luke 17:1, 2) - so they don't float back up - we need to let God handle it. Justice may not be not in our hands to perform.
Sometimes we would rather get rid of the offender than to forgive, but even if good riddance is called for it it is more often than not out of our hands.
"It's impossible to get rid of this offensive person in my life," you say, but the mature turn to the Lord and wait upon (trust) His methods, timing and strength.
Grace today y'all!
Standing tall toward the southeast corner of our front fence line is a stately cedar. It's dark green, aromatic and handsome with its conical shape. Last year we experienced a record saturation from rains raising the water table to within a couple inches of the ground surface. As a result our beloved cedar began to lose its grip. Leaning at about 3 degrees, the roots that once were hidden below the surface are now exposed straining to keep the tree erect. If they can hold out new roots will form, and while now more vulnerable to wind and softened ground our cedar will with strengthened roots endure for years to come.
A tribute to trees, but maybe not so much us?
If we are leaning a bit from the challenges of life – maybe ravages – are we like a mighty cedar though perhaps now more vulnerable since that last episode of whatever, straining to stay erect, but at the same time putting down more roots?
We could just let go and fall. Cedars don't have that choice. They are programmed to re-root for survival. We however may choose, and that is one factor that adds to our experience an element of risk. When we are shaken will we fall? If our roots are disturbed will we give in or strain to stay erect. It's automatic for a cedar, it takes courage and effort for you and me.
You are of more value than many trees.
"Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving."
Colossians 2:6, 7
Grace today y'all!