Monday, August 8, 2011
Lessons from a Banana Tree
Trouble is everywhere in this world. God knows that, and His promises to us are not that we will be exempt from trouble but that we will survive it and thrive in spite of it. I once knew a retired pastor who grew banana trees in his backyard. Bananas will grow in our hot and humid summers in Southern Illinois. But the season isn’t long enough for them to produce much fruit. Some people tried to overcome this by starting their banana trees in a green house earlier in the spring. But, according to my pastor friend, banana leaves, in particular, have to be exposed to the wind as they are growing. If they grow in a quiet greenhouse, and are then put outside, those big beautiful leaves will be shredded by the first summer windstorm. So too, we are exposed to troubles of all kinds as Christians just like anyone else. But God uses those troubles mixed with faith to strengthen us. Job said, “But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” (ESV Job 23.10).
(Adapted from "Lord, Save Me" Matthew 14.22-33 Sermon for the 8th Sunday After Pentecost, August 7, 2011.)
Additional Passages that Teach Us About God's Grace in Adversity
NKJ James 5:11 Indeed we count them blessed who endure. You have heard of the perseverance of Job and seen the end intended by the Lord -- that the Lord is very compassionate and merciful.
KJV Psalm 94:12 Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O LORD, and teachest him out of thy law;
KJV Hebrews 12:6-9 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. 7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
NKJ Matthew 5:10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
NKJ Job 13:15 Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him. Even so, I will defend my own ways before Him.
ESV Job 23:10 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.
NKJ 1 Peter 1:6-9 6 In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, 8 whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, 9 receiving the end of your faith -- the salvation of your souls.
NKJ 2 Corinthians 5:1-3 For we know that if our earthly house, this tent, is destroyed, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2 For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, 3 if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked.
NKJ Habakkuk 3:17-19 Though the fig tree may not blossom, Nor fruit be on the vines; Though the labor of the olive may fail, And the fields yield no food; Though the flock may be cut off from the fold, And there be no herd in the stalls -- 18 Yet I will rejoice in the LORD, I will joy in the God of my salvation. 19 The LORD God is my strength; He will make my feet like deer's feet, And He will make me walk on my high hills.
NKJ John 16:22 "Therefore you now have sorrow; but I will see you again and your heart will rejoice, and your joy no one will take from you.