Jesus looks at me and holds out a shovel.. "Will you dig with me?" he says, with soft, beautiful eyes.I look at him, knowing that I have a choice to say yes or no. Knowing that regardless of the answer, he’s still going to look at me the same way, with those same loving eyes. I look to the tree beside us. It’s huge. It’s branches stretch out so wide and strong, and it’s trunk is wider than I can wrap my arms around. The only thing is it’s roots - they’re not planted. It looks like it’s been uprooted, and I can see it’s roots have been out of the nutrients of the soil for too long. It’s not dying yet, but I can see that soon, without the richness of the dirt all around it, it could start to wither and die.
I look at Jesus. In one hand he holds a shovel, and in the other he holds one out to me. I know I have a choice.. and I also know that there’s no way I can dig a hole deep enough for this tree on my own. I’m too weak, too frail.. too tired. “This tree is the life I have for you” He says with a gentle smile, looking up to it’s beautiful branches with joy in his eyes. “Will you help me root it in a solid foundation?”
I know that it will be work. I know that it will be tiring. But as I look at him, my body fills with strength, and I whisper a tiny, small and slightly overwhelmed “yes” to him. We start to dig. I can tell by the size of the width of the hole, that this is not going to be a quick process. The roots on the tree have grown really really wide. I look at the tree a little daunted, and he looks back at me.. and with a chuckle says “and you think there’s a lot of roots now? Wait until it’s been planted for a few years.. then you’ll see."
As we begin to dig I feel a great companionship. We laugh, and talk.. but after a while I start to get very weary. My whole body aches. The hole is now over my head, and I look to Jesus as ask him if it’s deep enough yet. He looks back at me with a smile,
“It’s your choice, little one. Do you think it’s deep enough?”
I realise once more that I have a choice. He’s giving me the chance to stop now, rest up, and plant the tree. I look at the size of the root system again, and I just know that if we planted the tree now, it would be quite shallow. Maybe the roots would grow, but if a storm came, there’s a chance it could fall.
Knowingly he looks at me, and keeps on digging. After a while longer, we hit some rock. It’s solid, and I can tell there’s no way I can dig past it. I look at him with a little bit of frustration, and weariness.
He says to me with renewed energy, “It’s okay little one, rest for a while, I’ve got this bit.” I gratefully sink down as he chips away at the rock, piece by piece. “Do you know what this is?” He says to me as he faithfully chips away at each piece. I look at him with confusion and say I don’t know. “It’s all the walls that separate us. You don’t bring them down, we bring them down together.”
After many more hours of digging, until the hole is almost twice his height, he whispers to me that we’re finished. I breathe a sigh of relief as we climb to the top and he pulls the tree with his deep strength, into the hole. “That was REALLY hard.” I say to him, exhausted. “Oh, but it was so so worth it..” he says. “You will see, one day, you will see."
He pulls the tree with it’s massive roots toward the hole, and drops it in. It falls with a thud, and I see that the top with it’s trunk only just peaks through the top of the hole. He begins to fill it. He pulls out a hose and begins to water it. “No storm is gonna get this one.” He says with a grin.
“One day you will look back on this time little one, and the power of this time will no longer be a mystery - rather you will always draw strength from it." I look at him with a smile and deep peace in my heart. Just to spend all this time with him made it worth it.
“What now, Jesus?” I ask him.
He replies with a smile... “Now, we watch as it bears fruit.”
Psalm 1:3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields it's fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither - whatever they do prospers.
Image source:Junyi Wu