"...through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as imposters., and yet are true" (2 Corinthians 6:8).
A. Parnell Bailey tells of a story of being given a tour by a farmer of an orange grove during a season of serious drought. En route to the trees of his grove, they passed a grove belonging to a neighboring farmer. The trees were dry, fruitless, and effected greatly by the overbearing sun and the deprivation of much needed water. When they arrived at the right grove, Bailey remembers seeing orange trees that were lively, leafy, and loaded with fruit. "How can this be?" was the question that was asked. The answer was profound. He was told of how when the trees were just young saplings, they were given water in small incremental amounts. Thirsting for more, the roots of the trees pushed further into the hardening ground in search of ground water. Having found that well of nourishment, his trees had survived because they learned what to do in the toughest of their trials. While other trees were wilting and dying under the pressure, his trees were thriving due the life-sustaining reservoir discovered in the depths.
As Paul continues to write this letter in the midst of great trial of personal attack, he expresses his great confidence in and dependence on God. In spite of the external circumstances, he still felt commended by God. He still believed he was approved by God. His goal had been, since the day of his surrender to Christ, to determine his life to be lived to honor Him, to dig deep in relationship with Him, and to depend upon Him through every moment of his life. There is a great temptation in our lives to give up during the most trying of times. We are encouraged to not give up, but press in, dig deep, and continue on. By the grace of God, we can come through the fires of our trials without even the hint, let alone the stench, of smoke.
Have you ever had a tough week that's brought you to the very end of your rope? Sure you have. Don't be discouraged. Don't give into the heat of the sun, the drought of the season, or the disappointment of the situation. Dig deep. Root deep. Commit to being rock solid and deep rooted in Jesus. You will continue to face seasons and situations that will surely put your faith to a test. Though this may seem unfair, uncalled for, unwarranted, and certainly unwanted, this is part of God's gift to you. No, it's not his desire to cause difficult in your life, but he will use it as an opportunity to strengthen you, stretch you, and show you more of Him than you've ever known. Through it all, remember who He is and who you are in Him. Dig deep, tap into Him as the Living Water. You may go through a drought, but you will never run dry!