The Withered Fig Tree

While reading the scriptures this morning I came across the passage of the withered fig tree. Or so I thought it would be about said tree. I hesitantly read on, thinking I would see a reflection of my flaws. Because let’s be honest, sometimes I can relate to a withered, fruitless, Charlie Brown tree – dry, brittle, alone, useless, hopeless. I swallowed my pride and braced myself for some hard honesty. But instead, to my surprise the reading was about faith and prayer, and it was the perfect hope for my fragile heart.

Mark 11: 20-24

Early in the morning, as they were walking along, they saw the fig tree withered to its roots. Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree that you cursed has withered.” Jesus said to them in reply, “Have faith in God. Amen I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it shall be done for him. Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours…”

“…all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours.” What a promise! I know that we all pray for things that we inevitably do not receive. And that is truly part of the mystery of our faith. But the truth is that so many prayers are answered. So many doors are opened to the faithful everyday. To see it, Jesus says we must have faith that is strong enough to move mountains. 

As I was reflecting on this, I looked up to see my son happily playing with his baseball and I thought – more than anything, I want that faith and I want to pass it on to my kids. And then it hit me, they have it right now. I need to learn from them. Their gratitude for life. Their joy in the little things. Their belief that their Father will always be there for them. I have been too clouded with the worries of life to let my heart be truly open. I have been too controlling to let any sort of faith take over. I just need to be still. Let the stirring calm. Let it be as it is. Trust that my mountains will move. And I must learn to keep my eyes fixed on what is above – because there lies the only source of water for these dry roots.

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