A Million Maples or “What is it to you?”

I was walking in the woods this morning and felt compelled to pray for two friends. The crazy thing is, they don’t know they are my friends. I don’t check in with them like close friends do, don’t have them over for dinner or call them to tell them the latest happenings of our family. As a matter of fact, I have never even met them in person. Yet, I love them and watch them, follow them is as if they were my brothers. They helped me through some of my struggles and tears, made me laugh, and even affirmed my calling – all while they were both writing about their convictions.
I was saddened to hear about their arguing, so I prayed.

While walking and praying, I came across a field of maples. The maple seeds had fallen from the mature trees on the fertile soil in spring and grown a few leaves over summer. Now, they sported yellowing leaves all over the forest floor. Like fibers reaching out of a beautiful carpet, they covered the ground.
When I stoped to take a photo, I wondered which ones would stand strong one day and which ones would have to give way.
It was here I knew God was going to speak to me. I tuned the ears of my heart and listened. He did speak.

“When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Peter turned and saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them, the one who also had leaned back against him during the supper and had said, “Lord, who is it that is going to betray you?” When Peter saw him, he said to Jesus, “Lord, what about this man?” Jesus said to him, “If it is my will that he remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow me!” 
John 21:15-22

It’s not my job to determine which of the maples will grow on the forest floor, which one will provide the biggest shade one day. I don’t have that kind of foresight and knowledge. It’s much the same as I walk alongside my brothers and sisters. I have no idea how God will grow what I consider inept or feeble, legalistic or inclusive. I am called to listen carefully, follow Jesus closely, be patient and grow continually in real love. I can only look to myself and make sure I follow. I cannot afford anything else … for people are watching me … and winter is coming.

13 Comments »

  1. Heidi, there are people I pray for daily, whom I haven’t seen in years, and I’m sure they have no idea they’re being prayed for. But every once in a while, I’ll hear from one of them, out of the blue. They ask me to pray for them, because they’re in crisis, they know I’m a Christian, and they’re not. As you say, we plant seeds, and it’s up to God to grow them. Someday in heaven we’ll find out which ones grew to be strong trees.

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  2. Your thoughts remind me of a sign I have in my classroom: “Be Responsible 4 You”

    Your excellent analogy also reminds me of students I’ve taught who were “at risk.” Some I thought would surely end up in ajail did not, while others I thought most likely to succeed failed miserably.

    Heidi, you are the most “visual “ writer I follow. Between your high quality photos and your wonderful word pictures, you manage to say so much with relatively few words.

    God Bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Heidi, I just wanted to tell you that you inspired me to go back and ask the Lord what He was saying to me about the little fish I photographed. You can read my blog and see what I wrote. I want to try from this point on to give a teaching from the Lord. I have no doubt that He will give one to me, as you always have one to share. Thanks much for your good influence on me.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This post is so timely, Heidi! My family and I have also become aware of a faction within our Christian brotherhood/sisterhood that breaks our hearts. What appeared to be strong is giving way. As we prayerfully seek our way forward, we desire God’s wisdom, and trust he will reveal his guidance in good time. May we be alert to listen carefully and follow his lead closely! You are so right–others may very well be watching to see how we handle this situation. May they witness Spirit-inspired integrity, restraint, and grace as only He can provide!

    Liked by 1 person

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