It looks like October on my porch. I know, it’s April and I live in Florida. But there are brown, dead leaves from my ficus tree blowing all over the porch. The odd thing is, the tree itself doesn’t appear to be dying or unhealthy, just a few of the branches. And actually, it’s not whole branches. It’s just a lot of the leaves. But there’s some new growth, too. Strange.
I went out on my porch last night to watch the sunset and enjoy the pre-humidity, pre-summer Florida evening. I went to talk to God. To think, to pray, to open my heart. I’ve needed that lately. I asked God to show me something. And He did.
As I looked at the weird ficus tree with its oddly random leaf loss, I thought about some people close to me who have fallen away from God. Friends who no longer seem connected to the branch – or the vine, as the scriptures put it. We were all connected to the same branch and root at one time. Some of us kept growing, kept drawing life from the root, kept close to the One who made the vine in the first place. And others, for whatever reason, lost the connection and pulled away from the source of life. It makes me sad. It must make God sad, too.
As I looked at the sad parts of the tree, I noticed that there are signs of life on some of the dry parts. It sounds like the typical thing that happens every year up north, but this seems odd down here in the tropics. And maybe God allowed me to witness it so that I would understand that even when things seem dry and lifeless and hopeless, restored life is possible. Maybe the outwardly visible signs of life in my old friends aren’t evident. But God is still surging life through the vine close by. And all they need is to drink from it – and a new leaf will grow.
God reminded me to keep praying for my friends last night. If there is someone in your life who has seemed dry and distant and detached from God, don’t stop praying. New life for them might be just about to start.
“I am the vine, you are the branches: He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit: for without Me you can do nothing” John 15:5
“We do not cease to pray for you…that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, bring fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” Colossians 1:9-10