Flipping through the photo album I silently hoped the obvious would not be spoken out loud. But of course it was: “That’s you, Mom? You look so…different!”
Any number of adjectives could have been used at that moment; “different” wasn’t too bad I suppose.
There is no need to rattle off a list of all that has physically changed over the years, as you likely have a list of your own.
The physical changes, however, are not the only changes that would have been noticed if the photo album was able to capture that which was more than skin-deep.
The changes the Lord has worked within – through the lessons learned, the trials endured, and the victories won – resulted in marks of maturity and growth in godliness which surely would have been noticed too.
As I consider how “different” I am (the current me) in comparison to the girl in the album (the past me), I wonder about the future me: what will she be like then? How will the next few seasons of life leave her: marked by maturity or marked by life’s bitter disappointments? Weary and wrinkled? Or refreshed and rejuvenated?
Rejuvenated…that’s an odd word to describe the aging process, isn’t it?
According to the Word of God and the lessons from the palm and cedar tree, not necessarily!
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“The godly grow like a palm tree; they grow high like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the Lord’s house, they grow in the courts of our God. They bear fruit even when they are old; they are filled with vitality and have many leaves.” (Psalm 92:12-14 NET, emphasis mine)
The KJV puts it this way: “…They shall still bring forth fruit in old age; they shall be fat and flourishing…” (verses 13-14, emphasis mine)
The older they get, the more fruit a palm tree produces.
What a vision for our lives.
Yes, there will be more wrinkles, more gray hairs, and a host of other physical differences as we journey through life, but there will also be more fruit, more flourishing, and more “fat.”
With each passing day and year, in Him, we can bear more – not less – fruit. The fruit may look different from season to season, but there will still be fruit.
Matthew Henry noted, “Other trees, when old, leave off bearing, but in God’s trees the strength of grace does not fail with the strength of nature. The last days of the saints are sometimes their best days, and their last work their best work…”
The psalmist also compared the godly to the cedars of Lebanon. These trees grew in the mountains to an incredible height: up to 120 feet it is believed. They were not only tall but wide, making them immovable despite winds or other forces of nature.
Friends, this is a picture of who He is growing us into as we continue to walk with Him year after year: not only women who are fruitful but women who are strong and immovable, regardless of what may come our way.
Corrie ten Boom stated, “The tree on the mountain takes whatever the weather brings. If it has any choice at all, it is in putting down roots as deeply as possible.”
We have the benefit of experiencing His past faithfulness, being convinced of His love, and seeing His Word come to pass time and time again, resulting in our roots deepening in Him with each passing year.
Another characteristic of the palm tree is that they thrive in dry places. Even in the dry and unfavorable seasons of our lives, we can thrive in Christ. In fact, these are the times our faith tends to thrive the most as we find that He is all we truly need.
Don’t you long to be fresh, fat, and flourishing – women who remain fruitful and immoveable, thriving in Him? What a vision for our latter years! I don’t know about you, but I would gladly accept the physical differences captured by a camera, visible to the human eye, in order to experience inner rejuvenation in Him as illustrated by the palm and cedar trees.
Will we make it our aim to be fresh, fat, and flourishing? Will we continue to sink our roots into the soil of Christ’s love in order to be planted in Him and nourished by His Word?
Will we catch this vision of the blessedness – the gift – that comes with each passing year as we walk with the Lord, sharing the fruit and fat we have gained with those coming behind us?
If we do, we can be certain that the best is yet to come, that the “strength of His grace” will not fail, and that our last days can be some of our best days, for the glory of His name.