, For those that don't know I grew up in the backwoods of Mississippi and the foot hills of Arkansas. My favorite pass times growing up involved being outdoors. It didn't matter if it was rolling and sliding down red clay hills, or hours wading in a cold creek, fishing for smallmouth. Simply put, I wanted to be outdoors. In my early years it was just what I enjoyed. As I got older, I loved seeing God in everyday things in nature. Psalms tells us the heavens declare His glory and the firmament His handy work (Psalm 19:1). Understanding that God created and designed everything in nature makes it all that much sweeter to spend time outdoors. Sights like the tree pictured here are some of my favorites to find. In Mississippi, it would be a tall pine growing on the edge of a hollar, somehow surviving the ice storms and winds. Here in Arkansas, you often find them, and other vegetation, growing in seemingly impossible locations. Everything in nature says this tree should have never made it. Not enough soil for the roots to find nourishment. Too little light can to feed the young sapling's roots. The sheer weight of the rock should have crushed the seed where it fell. Yet, somehow in the face of all this, this little seed found the nourishment it needed, the light to feed its growth, and the strength to split the rock to grow. If you think this is no big thing, you miss the small things.
Many times in this life we may find ourselves feeling like this tree. Of all the places, or times, for God to have seen fit for us to live, why now? Why here? Every time I try to move forward and grow, the pressure holding me back seems insurmountable. I'm just too tired. I always seem to fail. Ever feel this way? If you do, let me promise you that you are not alone. As a child of God you are born into a world that naturally holds you back or even tries to kill your growth. For a child of God to reach spiritual maturity and stand strong is an exact picture of this tree. Supernatural nourishment, supernatural light, and supernatural strength are the only things that make a Christian able to grow up. The writer of our text today is a prime example of this truth.
Paul is exhorting the people of the churches in Galatia to never stand down. Never give up. We are not those that turn back (Hebrews 10:39). He lived a life of example in this truth. He grew up as Saul of Tarsus. A Jew's Jew and a Pharisee of the Pharisees. He did so in a very polarized world. The Jews and Gentiles shunned and despised each other. To cross the lines between the two was looked down upon by both sides. When Jesus rattled his cage and called him into the work of the true Gospel, he had major hurdles to cross. He had a name on the one side that instilled fear of literal death and persecutions, and on the other, hatred for being a turn coat. For this man to walk for Christ would truly be a 10 mile walk, in the blinding snow, uphill both ways, as the old adage goes. With no coat and no GPS directing him. He met opposition all the time. Yet, he managed to write the majority of the New Testament, start countless churches, and do more work in the gospel ministry than most of our modern day ministry with the help of social media accounts.
He gives us his not so secret recipe here in this verse. Faint not and do good. We are told in Isaiah that those that wait on the Lord will mount up as eagles. He promises that those that wait on Him shall grow and reap what they sow. I can imagine there were many times in Paul's life it would have been easy to give up and give in. Maybe when he was locked up in prison. Yet, we find that he would, instead, have a midnight singing service with his fellow inmates. Maybe as he stood bound before the judge looking at death coming upon him, but rather, he boldly says, "I would that you were all together as I am save these bonds." Paul had a way of never giving up, and he exhorts us to follow in those foot steps. Trust that the Lord will keep you and prosper your way if you are following Him and refuse to stop. Understand there is a promise given to us. You will reap what you sow. If you sow carnal things, expect to reap carnal things. If you sow spiritual things, expect to reap spiritual things. Also, don't expect it to be a quick return. We often give up too quickly before growth can happen. We like to picture we are sowing everything into perfectly prepared, healthy soil. However, the reality is, this world is not conducive to our growth. We are casting, often times, into these sheer rock faces, and think a fruit yielding, mature tree is going to just pop up ready to feed us and others. Spiritual growth takes hard effort, and is often a slow process . Being a Christian is not for the faint of heart. Just as Paul found, being nice will often find ridicule coming back to you from both sides of the field. However, the best form of sowing good seed is seek to do good unto all men! That is to men, women, and children of all types and shapes and sizes. They are our neighbors. It is in this that Jesus said we will be known as His disciples indeed. God is that supernatural nourishment, light, and strength that we as children of God all have access to, IF we follow Him and faint not. What is it that God has called on you to do? He can help you stand in impossible locations, split rocks, and stand the storms of life.
God bless you all and may we all learn to depend on Him for our everything.