“Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers.” Psalm 1:1-3
I told a friend recently that I feel as if I’m in the middle of the most unproductive time of my life. A bit over a year and a half ago I was working 50 hours a week, teaching a Bible study, meeting with women, organizing events, etc., etc. I loved what I was doing and saw fruit from it. In July 2009 I very joyfully retired and reduced my work hours to about 10 per week and stepped up ministry involvement. I began helping to connect women wanting mentors to women needing mentors. I continued teaching Bible Study and added a Sunday School class. I met almost daily with one woman or another to talk and pray.
But then Becky died. My partners in ministry have very graciously stepped up their involvement to give me some time to heal. Part of that healing time has included going back and forth between home and Jacob and Becky’s home to love on and support Jacob and the girls. The time that I’ve had here has included more solitude than I’ve ever had in my life. This has been an amazing blessing to me. I’ve spent hours in the Word and in contemplation and prayer. I’ve read a lot of on grief and healing. I’ve taken time to process and consider things that haven’t risen to the top of my thought life in the recent past. Some of those ponderings have come out in the “Gleanings” that I’ve posted. Some are yet to come.
I was thinking on Psalm 1 the other day and feel very sympatico with the tree planted by the stream. Trees do nothing but wait. They grow up through no effort of their own other than the natural response of the seed to light, soil, and water. Roots go deep and branches reach high as cell by cell the tree grows into the light. The tree can’t produce fruit out of season; it seems simply to exist during the dormant season. But even in dormancy it is thriving when its roots are in a good place – a place full of life. I’m waiting for healing – in a dormant place, but in the waiting is the healing. This waiting is bound up in abiding in Christ, the one who is the fulfillment of the law of the Lord. As I wait and dig deep into His life, He brings that healing. I know that Becky’s death leaves a scar that will never go away. There is pruning happening in my life through this experience. Pruning shapes me – changes me – makes me into a different person in Christ than the ‘me’ that was before. It is tempting to try to go back to the way things were – to just ‘buck-up’ and try to be exactly what I once was, ignoring that which might change me now. But the reality of life for the next few months tells me it is time to wait.
This experience is redefining ‘productivity’ for me. I’m waiting on the Lord, seeking Him, and watching to see what fruit He brings from this time in my life. Perhaps this is productivity for the one abiding in Jesus?
“I am still confident of this: I will see the goodness of the LORD in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD; be strong and take heart and wait for the LORD.” Ps 27:13-14