Thursday, June 12, 2008

NEVER GIVE UP!

Several years ago we transplanted 26 very large azaleas to our wooded area. These were given to us by a friend who was getting rid of all his azaleas. They were probably 11 or 12 years old, so you can imagine how large they were. My husband worked for 2 straight days digging those huge things up, loading them onto a trailer and bringing them to our place and then transplanting them. Whew!! What a job! So far about 12 of them have survived. I've nurtured them and babied them to keep them living. Some are doing beautifully, others are hanging on by a thread. As I surveyed one the other day, it reminded me of many Christians. They start out on their walk with the Lord and are on fire for Him. They grow and put forth "new growth" and are on their way to becoming a fruitful, mature believer. But, somewhere along the way, something happens. That journey gets interrupted by the world and all that's in it. They stop feeding on God's word, they stop drinking from the wellsprings of prayer. Little by little their life begins to change. After a while, they look a lot like one of my azaleas:












At one point, this was about all there was left to this azalea. Just a few leaves. The rest was only dead branches. A lot of people would have dug it up and thrown it away. I admit I was tempted. But I just did not want to give up on it. So I kept watering it, kept fertilizing it and kept praying it would survive. (Yes, I do pray for my plants.) But I also did some major pruning. I cut away a lot of the dead wood. I figured I'd either kill it or cure it. And....it worked!





It has put out new growth and is beginning to thrive once again!!




Does this remind you of anyone you know? Or maybe it's YOU? Dear Friend...do NOT give up! Do not give up on your loved one. Do not give up on yourself! God does not give up on us! Maybe you or your loved one needs pruning and God may be in the process of that. Or maybe they just need you to keep believing in them and keep praying for them. The fertilize of prayer is one of the most powerful tools we can yield as a believer. Keep praying for this loved one. Keep encouraging them and loving them, even if you only see a hint of "green" showing. God, the Master Gardener, is able to resurrect the most unlikely and bring them back to a fruitful, productive life again. If this life is yours, do not despair. God has promised to give back the years the locusts have eaten if we will put turn to Him, repent, and follow Him. It is never too late.











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