by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2011
The path to the summit has two entrances – one which is wheelchair accessible and makes its way to the top with gentle switchbacks and the other which is so steep it seems as if it goes straight up! Since one of my goals in walking is to treat my body better because the Lord tells me it is the temple of His Holy Spirit, I have taken a liking to the steeper path because it strengthens my body better.
On this particular morning, I actually was anticipating the steeper climb with excitement! But as I approached the hill which leads to the summit path, the Lord said, no. Not only was I not to take the steeper path when I reached it, but I was to head toward the entrance of the wheelchair accessible end of the path by hiking up the less direct side of the road.
This was not my desire, but I know God always protects me perfectly and blesses me abundantly when I obey. After all, He alone knows His true intentions for this walk and what lies up ahead, so I obeyed.
He did not disappoint. Within minutes, at least one of His reasons for having me hike this
particular way was clear. As I had almost climbed to the entrance of the wheelchair-accessible path, my eyes were drawn to thickets of tall bristly thistles clustered all along the fence line. These thistles were only on the side of the road where the Lord had directed me to go. Had I had walked the way which seemed right to me (and which I thought I wanted) instead of as the Lord instructed I would have missed the picture of how things work which He desired to give me. It was an object lesson, a reminder and important wake-up call.
The ground at the base of the thistles was covered with a white fluffy substance, which was as thick as snow. As I looked closer in the early dawn light, I saw that each small tuft of white was a thistle seed. There was a carpet of thistle seeds on the ground which the next breeze would carry further into the field! Within a year or so if nothing was done to stop the spread of the thistle, the field would be unplantable and nothing useful could be grown there!
Though I grew up on a ranch where thistles and mustard weed were viewed as the enemy and not the friend, in recent years, I have become more complacent, seeking to find the beauty in all of God’s creation. This is not bad, it has been good! It has caused me to judge less, be less critical and jump to fewer conclusions. As a part of this, I have
endeavored to see the beauty of thistles in the field.
However, what we see in the natural (how God made His visible creation to function) gives us a picture of how God works in the
invisible spiritual realm as well. Where
it is admirable to look for the good and to seek to see the beauty in all of God’s creation, we also must be wise to watch for unproductive, dangerous “weeds and thistles” in the fields which the Lord has given us to tend for His
harvest, especially the field of our own hearts.
Few of us today are familiar with what it takes to produce the food we need to live. We no
longer grow our own food, but purchase what we want when we want. We don’t remember the challenges of sowing, planting, tending and harvesting a crop; of using the raw harvest from which to produce edible, digestible food. We don’t remember it takes multiple seasons (i.e., spring, summer and into fall) for the crop to grow until it is ready to harvest and eat, or that the farmer never knows if the harvest will actually come to fruition because he can neither control the weather completely nor eliminate the impact of pests. We have forgotten that though beautiful away from the growing crops, there are some weeds whose presence threatens the harvest.
Thus where it is admirable to look for the good and to see the beauty in all things; we must also be wise. We need to be vigilant and diligent to watch for weeds and thistles growing in our own spiritual lives and deal with them promptly. If we do not, they will spread and completely take over what which otherwise would have been good, productive ground and God will not be able to use us to effectively to grow His kingdom harvest.
For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org Worship music audio clips can be found at www.cdbaby.com/Artist/ElizabethFulgaro For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation. Contributions are tax-deductible.