Figs in due season

Sometimes the longing for more obscures the gift of the moment.  I’ve seen it again today, as I swam length after length of that almost-empty pool.  For there is something I have wanted, waited for.  It has been a long time.  And I believe God will give it but he has not yet.

I remembered the words of a young woman one Sunday night recently.  Earnest.  Unpolished.  Don’t let your longing for one spiritual gift stop you from using the ones you have, she said.  It wasn’t to me but to us.  I let the words hover there in the air for a moment.  Acknowledged their truth.  And then let them fall because I could not see their resonance for me in that moment.

But this morning as I swam to the top of the pool, I remembered.  And the Spirit threw open the doors of my perception.  For there is something I have wanted, waited for.  And it has been a long time.  And there are other things too, professionally, which I thought would be mine in this season.  Things which are proving trickier to make progress on than I would like.  Though I should admit to myself that I have been making progress, the markers of that progress seem not to be evenly spaced.  All of the fruit will come at the end, when all progress has been made.  Even 90% of effort complete carries with it no marker, no affirmation that most of the job is complete.  It is all or nothing.  And so, even at the 90% point, it is still nothing.

Length after length I swam, thinking about my professional context.  And what I saw was how easily this longing to bear fruit in this one particular area might obscure the reality of my orchard.

For though this tree has been watered and prayed over and loved for a long time, and has yet not borne, there are other trees in the orchard which is my professional context.  Ones which, three years ago, were saplings, vulnerable to every high wind, wide-open to passing herbivorous animals.  Ones which, even eighteen months ago, were weak and delicate.  And yet which, today, are stronger than ever before.

Not as strong as the mighty trees in the orchards which surround them. Not as heavy-laden with fruit until branches bow to the ground.

Fragile still, even.  But, finally, fruit-bearing trees.

And I remember a Man, one who created all things, and in whom was the very life which sustains them, yet who permitted a fig tree three years to bear.

I remember.  And so I trust that my tree will one day bow low with fruit.  I remember, I trust, and I celebrate the trees which now bear.

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