“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord.” Habakkuk 3:17 NIV
To that list, I add–if there are no blossoms on the orange tree, and if the lemon tree is dead, yet will I rejoice in the Lord A few weeks ago, Southern Arizona was hit by a hard freeze with temperatures dropping into the teens overnight. Unheard of since we have lived here. Almost the lowest in recorded history.
While the romantic in me was stirred by the idea of winter cold temperatures and cuddling by roaring fires, the gardener in me was distraught over the possibility of losing the fruit trees we had nurtured through the years. A few of my recent posts have even focused on the sweet taste of home-squeezed orange juice. (Hubby loves to make lemonade.) Mom’s orange loaf bread is a treat we count on each year and lemons are used in many of our recipes. We even share our bounty with friends, neighbors and coworkers.
While I write, I hear the whir of the juicer downstairs. With each pulse of the machine, the last drops of this year’s limited lemon crop are being extracted. Soon Hubby will bag and freeze the juice for wet summer refreshment when the temperatures soar to 110 or more.
So what happens if we have no citrus trees next year? What happens if our17 years of hard work and nurturing is all wiped out in just a week? What happens if the heady fragrance of citrus blossoms is missing from our yard and the juicer no longer whirs? We will rejoice because the Lord is still Lord and He is with us to provide for our every need.
The fruit trees, though deeply appreciated, are simply an analogy of how our lives can change suddenly. Losses in this life are guaranteed. Those we love will leave our arms some day and there is no replanting of their lives. We also will go through trials–this, too, is guaranteed. Jobs are lost, homes are foreclosed, children break parents’ hearts with their choices, sickness ravages our lives.
“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 17:33 b NIV
The Lord encourages us because He is there with us through the loss and pain. And by His grace, we will overcome. He will heal our mourning and losses. Because of this we can rejoice in the midst of our trials.
“I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13 NIV
Perhaps we may have to plant new trees. But here in the midst of this scarcity, a bird has built her nest. A reason to rejoice in the midst of loss.
May you feel the comfort of the Lord no matter what loss you may be going through at this time.