DEEP AND WIDE, JUST IN TIME!

24 07 2017

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There was a man one day who was ready to give up on God. He was tired. Life was no longer going well, and he didn’t know if God was going to come through for him like he had once believed. He had gotten to the end of his rope, the last of his hope, and wanted to give up. So he whispered to God, “I quit.”

Perhaps that’s you today. Perhaps that’s how you feel because you can’t see God, you can’t hear Him. You feel weary, wasted, wandering and waylaid.  You sense that you have been overlooked in the showcase of life, left in the back row to rot quietly. You feel forgotten. You are totally alone. You want to be loved but only sense loathing.  Even though you once held so much optimism, those days seem like another lifetime alone.

 The man who told God that he was through with faith decided to go to the woods to have one last conversation with the Lord. “God, You disappointed me,” this man feebly cried. “You’ve got me stuck out here, and I don’t know why. I don’t know how long I’m going to have to stay in this prison before my change is going to come. I’m just ready to give up and unless I experience some divine intervention soon, I’m checking out.”

 Just at that very moment, another man appeared as he was also hiking through the brush. After some polite communication, the stranger took a deep breath and shared with authentic enthusiasm, “Look around and tell me what you see.” The man looked around and feeling a bit silly answered that that he saw lots of ferns and also some bamboo. The elder statesman with wide eyed energy exclaimed, “Exactly! Now let me tell you the lessons we can learn about the fern and the bamboo.” The surprised student perked up his ears to listen intently. His tutor continued, “When the fern seed was planted, the ferns grew up very quickly, and they became lush and green and beautiful. But when the bamboo seeds were planted, nothing grew at all during its first year. The same thing occurred with the second year and the third year and the fourth. It wasn’t until five long years later that the very first small shoot of the bamboo came up.” Then old timer’s voice paused allowing all the reality of the illustration to sink in. Then he continued with a question, “How tall is that bamboo you are looking at?” The man answered, “At least a hundred feet tall.” “You are right,” the teacher said. “And the reason bamboo is a hundred feet tall is because during the five years when you saw nothing, things were moving and it was growing deep on the inside. It was growing strong, deep roots down beneath the surface where you cannot see. The reason why it was going deeper first is because it was going to eventually be over a hundred feet tall. It knew how high God had designed for it to be and in order for it to sustain that height; it would have to grow deeper inside where no one could see anything at all.”

 As the man began to comprehend what was being shared, he only turned away for a second and when he looked back, the older sojourner was gone. It was as if he disappeared into thin air. It was in that brief second that the man presumed that he had been visited by an angel. The dark clouds had seemed to vanish and the sun was shining bright once again. In a mere matter of moments, God had lifted up the shade that had held the heart captive in the night.  

When the man got home, he wrote in his journal that night the following life giving sentences. These words literally jumped off the pages. It read, “If God is taking a long time with you on your journey, it is because the Lord is trying to take you deeper on the inside first. He is trying to develop and strengthen you to sustain the destiny in store. His plan for you is high. His calling for you is tall. His purpose for you will one day soar. But just as you can’t build a skyscraper on a chicken-coop foundation, you can’t place a divine destiny on a shallow soul. The higher your mountains, the deeper your valleys will seem. And difficult roads often lead to the most magnificent destinations.”

 If you are attempting to get your fill of the ocean by only sticking your toes in the waves, you have a long way to go. You must be willing to swim out into the depths of God’s open sea of grace for when you get shallow and stubborn; you end up stranded in the sand where the water no longer flows! God still speaks to those who are quiet and wise enough to look up and listen. What might he be saying to you today and who is the messenger of that timely truth? Never underestimate the lengths the Lord will go to get through the density of our pride. If we are too thick of skull, we might very well be too thin of skin. God isn’t finished with a masterpiece that is still breathing fresh air. Let God lead deep and wide today!

 


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One response

24 07 2017
Linda Paulhamus

Thank you Pastor Rudy. I really needed this message today.

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