Sunday, April 10, 2011

In Due Season

Happy indeed is the man
Who follows not the counsel of the wicked;
Nor lingers in the way of sinners
Nor sits in the company of scorners,
But whose delight is in the law of the Lord
And who ponders His law day and night.

He is like a tree that is planted
Beside the flowing waters,
That yields its fruit in due season.

Psalm 1

“There is a time for everything under heaven and earth,” why then do we so often believe the time of blessing must be now? We are a people who have grown up in a time of plenty, with more of the earth’s blessings than any of the generations past, and we have grown used to it. Even though we believe “into every life a little rain must fall,” we are not content with the many umbrellas we have been given, but challenge God to make the sun shine bright again --- and right now! We find that when life does not go according to our plans, we easily get upset. And when its pains come, as they will, we cry out in sorrow.

But we should know better.

“Happy indeed is the man … whose delight is in the law of the Lord.” That almost sounds like a contradiction in terms: Happy with the law? We view laws as limiting our freedoms, and in some way restraining our possible happiness. But if we think things over, and ponder His law, we come to realize that it exists for our own good. What we often don’t see, however, is that the real good the law does for us is not immediate, but at the end, in totality. So conditioned to immediate gratifications, we want things to be good now, but the law doesn’t aim to make our life totally joyful, without pain.

We are “like a tree” that “yields its fruit in due season.” That means much of the time the tree is merely growing, taking in nourishment, waiting to bring about its fruit. And it needs some fertilizer tossed on it every now and then, that it might grow stronger. The law governs our growth. And the tree will undergo storms, and even cold winters, all times of trial made more bearable because of the law, but still not the joy for which the tree, or we, exist. At the end of Lent, we celebrate the real “fruit” of our tree and of Jesus’ tree also, at Easter.

Much of Jesus’ life was like that of the tree in the psalm. He was growing in anticipation of the fruit of His tree. Then came His public life, and He expounded great wisdom and worked many miracles. Many would see this as the fruit of His life; this is what it seemed to lead up to. And in a way they were correct, for at this point His life yielded a fruit many could see, and they tasted it and it was good. Many would have been content with that fruit being the end of it, Him being a great prophet of God, blessing His people. But that wasn’t the end, and some of the wiser were disturbed that so many didn’t understand Him, didn’t follow Him, and even sought to kill Him. How could this be a good fruit that they seemed to see? Although doing the will of the Father was good fruit, but even while bearing that fruit the tree of Jesus’ life was subject to storms, and some of the fruit fell to the ground in those storms and rotted, like Judas, and yielded nothing.

But in the end, the tree of Jesus’ life yielded great fruit. His works, His immediate fruits, fell to the ground and were nourished by His blood, and grew into a great forest of trees. We are those trees, the fruits of His existence. “He came that we might have life.”

And our life, if we “delight in the law of the Lord,” will also yield great fruit “in due season.” The seasons of our fruit are in our children and our neighbors, but our ultimate fruit will be in Him at the end, for “He came to bring us eternal life.” Our tree will not be tossed into the eternal fires.

The storms of this life ARE difficult, and like Him, we will die, but only for a while, for like Him also, we will rise. So do not be anxious, my friends, because of the storms, nor even take too much joy in the fruits of your tree that you do see, for there is still a death in our future, but oh, there is also a great eternal life, and then we ourselves shall be “a fruit always in season.”

I’m suddenly reminded of the film The Miracle on 34th Street, where a young Natalie Wood asks Kris Kringle: “Is that like ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’?” Kris nods, and then she sarcastically says: “I thought so.” But even Natalie found herself saying: “I believe, I believe.” And her belief was rewarded in the end. And so will ours
All happiness and an eternal delicious fruit will come to us in due time, in due season. Have faith, and all this will come to be. After our Good Fridays, will come our Easter. I believe.

Glory and praise be to God.


  1. Yes, there is much waiting and invisible growth, and in fact some of the most important growth occurs underground ... where the plant puts down the roots necessary to take in nutrition.

    I also believe.

    God bless you!

  2. So many people these days worry about what they want or "deserve". And when they don't get it, or storms come, they really don't know what to do. I hear it so often, everywhere. "They can't cut this program or that program." "What about the poor?" "We've got to help our children."

    All these commentators are assuming that some government program is responsible for our neighbors or our children. So many have forgotten, or woefully perhaps never learned, that they are responsible. And since at some point all these government programs must be cut back, if there really are some who are seriously hurt, all these complainers will do is rail against the government, instead of helping out themselves. We have soooo forgotten our responsibility to our neighbor.