If you drove through my hometown, you would pass by this empty lot downtown. I have been driving by this corner most of my life, so I know it hasn’t always been empty. The grand old building that was there years ago once sold Roadsters and luxury cars. After it was condemned and razed, it has sat bare and desolate.
Except for one little tree.
I first noticed the tree only a few weeks ago. It is not very tall but clearly has a trunk and foliage that foretells that it is destined to be a lovely tree…someday. There is nothing else growing in this empty lot. Not a weed. Not a flower. Just the tree.
As I went by, this little tree became a metaphor in my mind for BELIEF. To believe is to accept something as truth and to put trust in that truth. Belief requires an investment. A planting.
Walk with me now as I mull this idea over for a bit.
This vacant lot is a Someday Garden. The tree is planted and grows with the belief that someday there will be flowers and vines bursting forth in abundance. There will be bees a-buzzing and birds a-flittering, landing and nesting in its branches. Even though now there is only barren soil and this one tiny tree, there is a belief living here that the garden will come and not only grow, but flourish.
That is how it is to believe.
Belief is planted even before we know what God will do with it and through it.
Last week my 87-year-old dad became very ill, and I began to fear the worst was coming. I couldn’t sleep, started to have bouts of anxiety, and couldn’t shut off the fearful questions from spinning in my head. They left me breathing fast and on the constant verge of crying.
“How will I get enough help to care for him?”
“What if he is suffering and I can’t help him?”
“I’m not sure I can handle a loss like this. How will I cope?”
On Saturday morning, I woke up realizing the problem: I had forgotten that I believe!
Years ago I had asked God to plant a little tree of belief in me. Back then, I felt like a vacant lot, barren and broken, except for that little tree of belief that God’s goodness was with me.
On Saturday morning I was reminded that my Someday Garden had grown and flourished since then for such a time as this. And the tree has grown, too, and has “I Believe” fruit hanging all over it!
“I Believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” (from “The Apostle’s Creed”)
I Believe that God is a loving Father and He calls me His daughter.
I Believe that God is sovereign over all…yesterday, today and tomorrow. Illness, death and after death.
I Believe that God knows what is happening with me and my Dad and is intimately involved. He is working even when I don’t see it.
I Believe that when God promises,” …the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you,” He means it. (Deut. 31:6)
And because I believe, I trust.
To believe is to decide to trust God even in times of difficulty, believing that His goodness will bring the abundance in time. And by this trust in Him, we gain the ability to see God shine as He acts and moves in our lives.
The Holman Treasury of Key Bible Words points to this kind of trust and belief by saying,“Trust is that form of knowing or seeing by which the glory of God is made present.” (John 1:14; 17:4)
And from that belief and trust grows faith. The Apostle Paul writes it like this:
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.”
Hebrews 11:1 (NIV)
I don’t know what the future holds. Dad is still suffering under the infection he has. He has good days and bad days. I’m still afraid sometimes. However, the difference faith makes is that I believe God is Master over it all. I believe He is trustworthy and cares about my dad even more than I do. And I trust God to stay and help us through.
One of my favorite sayings is a statement of faith in itself:
“I don’t know what the future holds, but I do know WHO holds the future.”
I mentioned before that belief requires an investment. It’s time for me to dig in and put my faith into action. Prayer helps. Surrendering and trusting God to know what is needed will help, too. There is peace in that.
How about you? Has a little tree been planted in your vacant lot? If not, what in your life needs a good gardener like God? Is there someone you know that can help you plant a little faith tree of your own? Is it time to dig in and start planting?
My hope for you is that in good times or in bad, you will always go back to your own little tree of faith, believing God can grow a garden in your vacant spaces as well. Bring your trust and He will meet you there, spade in hand, ready to make your garden something wonderful.
God loves you, friends. He loves my dad, too.
And God is worthy of our trust.
In these truths, I believe.
P.S. Thank you, God!! Since writing this, Dad has started to show improvement and is cracking his dorky dad jokes again!