Near-Death by Robin Densmore Fuson
Do you know someone who is discouraged or spiritually dying? What can we do?
Crepe Myrtle trees bloom with beautiful flowers. We bought one our first spring in Florida. We faithfully watered it and fertilized the tree. The brilliant pinkish lavender blossoms held their heads up high in proud beauty.
One day while watering and admiring our tree, I discovered a blight. The bark seemed darker and some of the leaves had yellowed. I detected holes. Something attacked our tree. Jimmy sprayed it. I spoke to it, “You’ll be okay. Hang in there.”
The tree continued on its exasperating downward spiral. Then winter hit. We faithfully covered her so the frost wouldn’t do more damage. Spring brought blossoms to other plants but the Crepe Myrtle barely made any leaves. Late spring, I deeply pruned the dead branches. We faithfully watered and fertilized. Fall turned into winter.
Coming out of the winter this year in Florida, our bougainvillea popped scarlet blossoms and other plants were coming alive. The Crepe Myrtle looked dead. Black sticks. No sign of life. My husband asked if I wanted him to rip it out of the ground.
“Wait. Let’s give her a month and then make a decision.” I said feeling sorry for the plant and our investment.
A few weeks later, I looked out the window and leaned forward, squinting. I hurried outside. Green leaves. One of the black branches had lightened and green leaves were popping out. Amazing!
The above picture is a mere two weeks after the first sighting of life. The bark is now the correct color and the tree can raise its proud head full of green healthy leaves.
The tree’s story reminds me of Christians. A person who trusted Christ as their Savior and chugs along in their Christian walk and growth, for a while, then a tragedy befalls them. A job loss, car accident, house fire, demotion, someone close to them gets sick and dies. Difficult and painful blights happen in their life and they turn away from the Father. Some might blame God for the problems that happened in their life.
They drop out of Bible study and rarely go to church. They don’t want to be around smiling healthy Christians. They withdraw from those that could help and run from the Holy Spirit’s comfort and grace. The fruit falls off. Their spiritual life suffers and withers away.
A year or more goes by.
One day, a word from a friend pricks their soul. A song grabs their heart. A tear falls. The Love of the Lord is felt. A psalm comes to mind. Memories of good times in the Word draws them back to the Father and His words of sustaining life. They arrive as the church service starts and slips out during the last Amen.
The next week at church, they talk to friends. God’s love radiates in their heart spurring growth. Soon, their spiritual world comes back to life.
What is our response to their regrowth? Where were we when they were in distress?
God wants us to come alongside Christians in whatever state they find themselves. We are to encourage. Most importantly, we need to lift them to the Father in prayer. We need to send cards, emails, and texts of encouragement.
It is never too late. God loves them and His voice draws them and calls them and tugs at their heart. He wraps His loving arms around them even when they reject His love. God doesn’t give up on His children and neither, should we.
The seed on the rocky soil represents those who hear the message and immediately receive it with joy. But since they don’t have deep roots, they don’t last long. They fall away as soon as they have problems or are prosecuted for believing God’s word. (Matthew 13:20-21 nlt)
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