A time to plant and a time to uproot...A time to tear down and a time to build. Ecclesiastes 3
We are always in process—people in need of pruning and growing and pruning again in order to bear a fruitful life. There will never be a point in our earthly journey in which we reach an apex, or a time that our growth as humans is complete. And it actually seems that the more and more we dig in and learn about ourselves and all of our complexities, the more there is to continue learning and growing from those realizations.
But sometimes that process of receiving the grace and mercy of truth is the one that hurts, and takes time we don't want to give it.
There was a time that I was afraid to grow. Well, many times, actually. Times where my heart had experienced real trauma, and my trust in God's plan and provision had been infiltrated with the grief that accompanies loss, breached trust and too many confusing questions for the human brain to contain. I've dealt (or not dealt) with grief poorly at times, and I've dealt with it more honestly and openly at other times. Both are difficult to endure, but only one offers new growth and healing.
It's often much easier for me to temporarily sweep questions and confusion under the ministry rug. I've done it. I can cover them temporarily. But I learned that it's also a decision that will inevitably create a deeper and deeper wound, with greater amounts of radical restoration needed later.
Let us then approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:16
In a growth process and counseling journey I took after some swept away wounds had begun to rear their ugly heads in my life, I was told that I tend to "rush redemption" with difficult things I go through. I try to make my own beauty from ashes in an Instapot so I can serve them up and present them beautifully in my life of ministry. But the part that I had missed in trying to presentably package up my pain, is that sometimes ashes, over the appropriate time, turn into a different kind of beauty that we can't anticipate.
It's similar to the way a forest fire enhances the ecosystem of the forest. The forest doesn't just "recover" by growing the same trees again; instead, it goes quiet. It rests and breeds a new kind of life that couldn't have existed with the green forest the way that it was before. Though it takes time, new—and different—life breeds in the forest. New growth brings new insects that thrive and pollenate new shrubs; these insects and shrubs attract small animals that make their homes among the burnt branches, which attract slightly bigger animals, and the pattern continues. The green forest might be missed, but the fire was needed in order to preserve and grow its complex ecosystem.
Forests need time to bring about new and different beauty from a fire.
And so do we.
We can never expect things to be the same, but we can anticipate a new and strangely beautiful life that could never have grown without experiencing seasons of pruning or fire.
Redemption simply cannot be rushed. We, people in process, cannot rush ourselves past the process of growing and planting and rebuilding from the ashes. We also cannot cover up and bury our questions and confusion, forcing ourselves to move ahead.
Redemption is a process that we will go through again and again.
So give it time, friends. We need it.
Thanks for joining me,
Jamie L. Robison