Near-Death by Robin Densmore Fuson
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
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
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
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
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.
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)