Our home is surrounded by really old pecan trees. They’re beautiful, but to be honest, they haven’t been really useful. They simply don’t make pecans.
Truly. Most people get more pecans from one tree than we usually get from scores of them. Some years, the trees have been almost completely empty.
In fact, the only year that we actually had pecans in plenty was the year after Hurricane Katrina came through. I guess that storm shocked our trees just like it shocked all of our systems.
We’d pretty much given up on the thought of picking up pecans and resigned ourselves to the high price you pay for less than fresh ones at the grocery store.
Until this year.
This spring, we noticed a change in our trees. They all produced leaves at about the same time. They didn’t look quite so sickly, and this summer, the shade they provided was full, not speckled with sunlight.
It gave us a glimmer of hope.
In August and September, my husband and I would look up and say, “Do you see anything?”
The answer was always “no.”
Until the nuts started falling from the trees.
There are more pecans than we can possibly pick up, and do you know what? They are good. In the past, the quality of the nuts wasn’t really worth the effort of finding them.
Not so this year.
Even the ones that I look at with a brow raised are full of flavorful pecans, perfectly ripened.
It’s a miracle.
And, I don’t say that lightly.
If I ask around, people contribute it to the “real” winter we had last year, but however it happened, I know what caused those trees to rain down their fruit this fall.
As I’ve picked up pecan after pecan, I’ve contemplated it and considered our harvest in light of so many others and have been reminded of these words:
“Let us not grow weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” (Galatians 6:9)
You see, God is always working, and there will always be a harvest.
Grace is what lets us be part of it.God is always working, and there will always be a harvest. Grace is what lets us be part of it.Click To Tweet
I’m reminded of a missionary couple I know who spent decades among an unreached people group in East Africa. As they were nearing retirement, it seemed there wasn’t much to show for all their years of work and prayer.
One convert. One Christian. That’s all.
But they believed. They were ready to retire, knowing that God’s work was not done even if their part in it was complete.
As they prepared to leave the field, the flood gates opened. The people they loved started coming to Christ, and because of God’s goodness and grace, they were still there to see it.
How did they know there would be a harvest?
How can we know there will be a harvest?
God said so.
I love the promise of Isaiah 55:11, which says, “So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I have sent it.”
God’s word never comes back empty.
We just have to hold on to faith like my friends did.
It isn’t always easy to do. There are times it seems like it’s foolish to hope. We look at things like my husband and I looked at our trees, almost scared to hope we might see fruit where there hasn’t been any before.
We wonder if the situation is just too far gone for even God to work through it.
Much like Abraham and Sarah did. Remember them? God had promised them a son, but the promise was long in coming. They doubted and looked for other ways to get the promise fulfilled.
They almost gave up hope.
But “by faith, even Sarah, who was past childbearing age, was enabled to bear children because she considered him faithful who had made the promise. And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore.” (Hebrews 11:11-12)
God did what he promised even though Abraham was “as good as dead.”
A lot like our trees.
I hope this week you are holding on to hope. I’d love to hear how you’ve seen God work or how you continue in faith when you can’t see how he’s working!