Under the Fig Tree
"This was done for you."
Season 2, Episode 2, The Chosen. Nathaniel sits under a fig tree with a stack of failed dreams in his hands—plans for a synagogue he'll never get to build (to know why, watch the show. Seriously). He turns his gaze to the radiant sky and directs a broken-hearted prayer to heaven. But even as he recites words of faith, the tears streaking his face as he burns the designs say what he's truly thinking, what he's feeling.
"This was done for you. . . . Do you see me?"
I felt a weird connection to Nathaniel in this scene. Although—granted—I hadn't watched my life's work collapse in a literal pile of rubble, I had poured my heart and soul into a story that I truly felt was my calling from God, my way of glorifying Him. And when things didn't go the way I had planned, with more problems appearing as time went on, I can't deny that this thought was licking my mind like a flame.
I did this for you, God. Why didn't it work?
Why wouldn't you make it work?
Now, I know I've blogged on this topic before, and I can only hope that it resonates with someone out there. Because this feeling, this kind of discouragement is not dispelled in a day. Anyone who has breathed passion into something in God's name and watched it fizzle out knows the feeling of betrayal that accompanies it, and the thing about feelings is that they can't be reasoned away. You can't always logic your way out of a feeling you know is misguided. It's a feeling. It clings. Longer and more stubbornly than it should, long after your thinking has outgrown it.
Maybe your thinking has outgrown it. Maybe you've surrendered your project into God's hands and found peace, but every once in a while, like a forgotten burr, the feeling of betrayal will make itself known, along with that question. "Lord, do you even see me?"
Jesus answered that question for Nathaniel. "I saw you under the fig tree." (John 1:48) In your darkest moment, in your hour of despair. I saw you. I have plans for you. Your work isn't over; follow me and watch it begin.
Jesus saw you under the fig tree. When you were in the dust, setting fire to your dreams, begging God to explain why your efforts to honour Him amounted to nothing, Jesus saw you there and he sees you now. He is calling you to something greater. A future so much more vibrant than the one you had planned, a future that will require the gifts he gave you—probably in a way you never would have guessed.
Wherever your fig tree was—your bedroom, your car, a bathroom stall, a quiet house alone, a bus ride, a dark night—Jesus saw you there. He has better plans for you. Trust him. Answer his call. Brush off your passion. Come and see.
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