Friday, July 12, 2013

FINDING GOD in THE DAILY: A Walnut Parable: The Little Steps to a Big Reality



We aren't always aware when something majorly is happening in our lives. It is when one looks back we discover that circumstances have combined to weave the threads into a story that one can read and understand once a few chapters are written. The ending may be vague, but we're starting to guess at it, maybe even anticipating its final chapter. Whether a tragedy or a comedy, one is in the middle of it regardless of the plot. In the midst of a long struggle, it can be like that. And God doesn't seem so good or  kind. A person doesn't see the end result, where it's heading, and it sure seems to be a tough row to hoe (farmer talk). The domino affect of circumstances tends to have a purpose. Kind of like the feathers on an arrow that help maintain the balance as it is flies in flight to hit the bull's-eye dead center. In life, it must be rare for a person to see the bull's-eye in advance, those times when God comes in and is beginning a long range plan for the life He's all about. The person may find out years later, if ever, or not until Eternity's in view. There is someone who does see the red dot at the center, that Someone knows all about the arrow: where the arrow is aimed, the strength it will take, the tools for the process, and the know-how to get the job done. 

In this analogy, we just have to "show up" and be willing to do the hard work of learning and surrendering our "want to" to that of our Master Teacher, the One who will begin the hard work of teaching the unskilled student. Getting a person's attention is difficult especially when they get caught up in other projects and responsibilities and pleasures, and.... or they turn negative in their thinking, that it's just more than they can ever accomplish, or that He really doesn't understand how it is for them. In reality, often the person's desires are in another direction and the ready assumption is that they are not skilled enough or up to the task.. The Teacher may not even be the one the person first set out to be tutored by. They're a bit suspicious, not sure how much they trust His leadership or like His assignments. The arguments against the process can be on-going. The Teacher can't teach those unwilling to be taught. It doesn't work that way. The scenarios and arguments vary (some very logical) but one thing is clear: The Teacher can see the person for who they will become or can become if they allow the Teacher to teach (to enter their life), and God don't make no mistakes! 
Hartley walnuts growing on tree.

I farm walnuts. In the orchard I farm there are two varieties of English Walnuts. The Chico variety of walnuts have a purpose. They are small nuts, too small in size to sell for in-shell markets, instead the Chico walnuts are cracked out to be sold for culinary foods, going into baked goods and candies. The other variety is a Hartley English walnut. The Hartley's are bigger trees and produce much larger walnuts. If the crop grades well (yes, we get a grade sheet for nut meat quality). These nuts will be sold to the in-shell market like the walnuts you see in the supermarket that you buy in the hard shell. These will need to be cracked out by the consumer. The Hartley's are a desirable walnut. They often command a premium price when their color and size are of high quality. The goal each year for the farmer is to come to harvest with a crop that is marketable, has the expected volume of product, and will command a good price, as the farmer farms, all is done with the intention of producing a stellar product. Hopefully market prices will be good enough to make a living, and hopefully there will be no un-for-seen acts of mother nature or damaging infestations. It's a lot like following God. He has a goal, too. The product He has in mind, is the soul of our lives and His relationship to that soul. Like in walnut farming, God has a vested interest in the outcome.

Spiritually speaking, the way God has worked in my life has been a steady process. I was a little girl when I first found myself praying to God. The years went by. In my teen years I found myself wanting to please God with my life. There were tears and prayers as I began to seek Him with my heart. I chose to obey God and to serve Him. I chose to lead a moral life and not deviate from this purpose. However, it was a scripted plan. Obey God. Serve God. Share God with others. In turn, He will bless you and be with you. Yet, I didn't have what I would see in some others, a closer walk with God. Into college I went, a private Christian college with required coursework in Biblical teachings. God came a bit closer. I started reading my Bible with interest, some of this due to the comfort its words would give me as I navigated through different emotional upsets in the dating realm. Theology, Bible doctrines, Bible courses showed me that the Bible is a book with much to offer, the character stories there to accentuate its message. On and on life went, marriage, babies, work, hard work, life's experiences, some were nice and some were extremely difficult. Then came hard, harder, and hardest times, times of loss and pain.  I didn't just pray to God, I sobbed my heart out. He took my tears and put them in a bottle. My eyes were dried by His gentle love. God became a Source of great help and strength to me. The light of God began to meet the inner me in newness and radiance. How does one condense a life for a short writing? Impossible.

The God I found is an intimate friend who has my best interest at heart.

A walnut tree grows according to its health, environment and circumstances.
The story is not finished, my story that is. There is an Author who is still writing its pages. He knows the ending, I do not. I only guess that the ending will be full of joy. I know this to be true because when we love God, finding Him to be real (that's the secret), to be enough, to be everything, He slips a sweet something into our lives and the result is a peace and joy that is other-worldly. In the next few weeks, I hope to unfold a few ideas or little steps that will lead to a Big Reality. In the mean time, God loves you, He really does. The hard things have a purpose. We don't know sunshine without the dark night. We don't know the full sweetness of honey without tasting of a bitter herb. It is in the contrast that we have the knowledge of the opposite. If you are discouraged or angry, disheartened or afraid, know that God is One you can call out to. He is waiting. Seek Him to be the real Reality (even if you've been a Christian for years).  He is willing and waiting. It is a time for beginnings.

The Walnut Parables will be written on Fridays. They are for the purpose of exposing the deeper life of following God where true living finds its source for peace and contentment. See you next week.

Tell me what God is doing in your life. Tasteful comments are welcome.

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