Fig Tree by Yvonne Ayoub
If you’ve ever known (or been) someone who suffers from addiction, then you know the cost of repentance. Two steps forward are all too often followed by three steps backwards. You end up counting every sober day in the win column because each day becomes a celebration of progress – a sign of change.
In our most desperate moments we also become keenly aware of the fact that our hope cannot be found in ourselves. Deep down we know depending on ourselves is only a recipe for failure. Self-righteous piety might make us feel better on the outside – it might even make us look good to others – but it doesn’t cleanse the inside. We need only to look in the mirror in order to be encountered with the truth that we’re not always what we want to be, and we’re definitely not always what God would have us to be.
So where is our hope?
Any gardener worth their weight in salt knows the frustration with plants that don’t bloom like they’re supposed to. You try season after season to work with the plant. You water it and offer it the care you hope will coax it into bloom. After this fails for long enough you have no other choice but to dig the plant up or cut it down, call the mission a failure, and move on to caring for other plants who know their duty to bloom.
Now suppose you yourself are the misfit plant unable or unwilling to yield fruit. Your only hope is found in a gardener who pleads for one more season, just a little more time, one more chance to prove yourself. It’s a risk for the gardener to take because their reputation is on the line. But this gardener doesn’t care about reputations – his love for plants is much greater than other people’s opinions and judgments.
And to that we say, “Thanks be to God!”