I picked up a walnut off the ground. It had a shrunken wrinkled hull. I stomped on the walnut and it cracked open. The walnut that had been growing inside its shell was blackened and shriveling, a blighted nut. It was not any good, a nut to be discarded. Next, I pulled a walnut off a tree branch. I peeled off its green hull, the outer layer which surrounds the shell, to expose the shell. I stomped on this nut. Inside,the nutmeat was light-white in color and the flesh was full, fibrous and watery as it should be at this stage of development, the developing nut adhering tightly to the shell so I couldn't pick it out for further observation.
|Diseased walnuts I picked off the ground under the trees.|
|Healthy walnuts as they are developing. The green hull adheres to the shell.|
I looked around, the orchard floor was littered with a scattering of shriveled bad walnuts, blighted nuts. Useless walnuts, we always expect some of these. These will be chopped up by the mower when the weeds are clipped close to the ground during a maintenance procedure to keep the orchard clean.
|Walnuts that have fallen to the ground.|
A person should desire to be healthy in their body, soul and spirit, like the good walnuts. People are capable of producing something useful and nutritious and beneficial. It is a process of growing, learning, applying, and depending on God. It doesn't just happen without an act of intention, and the person's will turned toward its object. Preventative measures need to be initiated against that which is harmful to the soul. This is critical, it must be part of the process. The diseased nut doesn't "go wrong" without a cause and effect in its development. In early spring the walnut begins its bloom, developing its catkins. Once the miniature walnuts begin developing, they consist of a watery substance. In its infancy, the nutlet is susceptible to freezing and something called blight. Warm rains bring on the blight. The farmer must be proactive, prepare for the potential danger. When rain is expected, a spray is applied to the trees to help ward off potential blight before it can develop and ruin the crop. Once blight happens the walnut will no longer be good. the crop will be light, the crop's value lessened. There is a bit of a dance for the farmer in early spring, when and if to spray, to time the sprays to be preventative in action but not more than necessary. Some springs it rains for days on end, too wet and muddy for the farmer to drive a tractor and sprayer on the wet orchard floor. This results in walnuts damaged by blight, falling down out of the trees throughout the spring and summer months, sometimes a hundred black nuts under a tree. It is expensive to treat an orchard, but necessary.
We, too, must be preventative, purposeful in what we do. This will help us to maintain and grow healthy in our spiritual lives. A strong spiritual life doesn't just happen. It is nurtured. If we assume that all is well, never taking an intense look at ourselves (and our walk with God), we can be susceptible to "blight" in our lives. When the rains come (and they will come), only the prepared, the preventative measures, will ward off its potential harm and damage. How? It's a good question. Important. One of the best preventions is being right where the person should be, in a place where God is feeding them through His Word, and the person is absorbing His truth and refreshment.
Psalm 1 speaks of being like a tree by the water receiving its nourishment. It is that way in the spiritual life. We must be connected to the Source, and the source is God, in a process of dependence on Him through the finished work of His Son, Jesus Christ. That's first, an imperative for true spiritual health. The tree will prosper. It will produce a good crop because the conditions are right. The dependence on God is necessary for a healthy spiritual life.
Psalm 1 (NIV)
Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers,
but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night.
That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
|A healthy tree with walnuts attached to the limb.|
|I am growing too.|