lessons from the fig tree, even today

Somehow I've managed to avoid figs for 31 years. I've had the "newton" version, but I can't recall ever seeing or eating a fig from a tree until last night.

We found these dried figs at Costco last weekend, and we pulled them out of the fridge for dinner last night:


One of the children nearly refused to eat them, and I joked that Jesus liked figs, so they must be good, which led us to read more about Jesus cursing the fig tree that didn't bear fruit.

It's such an interesting part of Scripture in Matthew 21:

18 In the morning, as he was returning to the city, he became hungry. 19And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.

I remembered this part very well, but I'd forgotten the lesson behind it until last night:

20 When the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither at once?” 21And Jesus answered them,“Truly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what has been done to the fig tree, but even if you say to this mountain, ‘Be taken up and thrown into the sea,’ it will happen. 22And whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive, if you have faith.” {Matthew 21}


When we read that last night I was struck by verse 22 so much. I ask, and often I don't know that I truly believe God will do it. I want to think I always do, but I know I waver in my faith, mostly because I'm afraid of being disappointed. I won't commit enough to believe He will do something like throwing a mountain into the sea. My "common sense" {i.e. lack of faith} tells me He likely won't.

I like to think I have faith- and I do know without a doubt that God will do His own will and that His purposes will stand, but asking Him for something specifically and believing He will do it? Do I ever do that? Honestly, I'm kind of scared of that.

I know that we are to ask in the name of Jesus- which means that we are not to be seeking our own will but His to be done {1 John 5:14: And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.}. And harboring sinful desires and asking God to fulfill my lusts or selfish motivation- that's not in the name of Jesus or the will of the Father, that's seeking after the good of my own name.

But if my heart is right with God, and I'm seeking after Him with my whole heart, and wanting to give Him my all... I believe God will give us the desires of our hearts {Psalm 37:4}. Not necessarily the fulfillment of our fleshly, discontent-driven desires {and we should pray He doesn't give us those!! Quail in the wilderness, anyone?}, but that He changes our fleshly desires into His perfect desires in our heart. No longer do we long for sinful things- we long to please Him, and that in itself is a testimony to the work that God has done in our lives. There is no good reason outside of the Holy Spirit that I should want to obey God, you know? It's crazy.

But in an effort to avoid a prosperity/self-seeking kind of theology, I wonder if I swing too far in the other direction to lacking in faith by not asking for His help specifically. He already knows what I need, and I can trust Him with my whole heart to provide it. He will provide a Holy Spirit to intercede on my behalf! He gave me His Spirit to dwell within me! He will lead me in the way I should go. He will guide my heart and my desires. I can always trust Him with everything.

Will He give me a serpent if I ask for fish? He promises to give me Himself- His Holy Spirit when I seek Him! He provided my sinful self with the Holy Spirit- why do I not trust Him fully?

Luke 11:
9And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.10For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. 11What father among you, if his son asks ford a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; 12or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

So many times I don't have faith because I am not trusting in His goodness. Why? Why am I afraid God doesn't love me that much that He will provide for what I need? He will give me the desires of my heart through the Holy Spirit. When I'm not trusting Him I'm not relying on the power of God- I'm relying on my own understanding.

I can only guess I hold back part of my heart because I don't have the faith I need to trust He is who He says He is, and He is good. He is always good, and I need to have faith in Him and His good work in every part of my life.

Oh, you guys.

He still speaks through the fig tree today.

Last night I laid Zane in his bed in his room {for the second time ever} at 9 and he woke up at 12 restless, despite my feeding him and trying to calm him down over and over.

As I leaned over his crib, I imagined facing yet another night with a sleepless baby, and I started praying- and as I was praying I remembered the fig tree from dinner. My weak {wimpy} prayer went something like this:

Lord, if you can curse a fig tree and make it wither like that, surely making a baby sleep through the night is not too hard of a thing for you? You made this baby, and you know how to make him sleep- I believe in you- help me believe that you will do it- help me to have faith that you will answer.

I had no doubt He could do it, but as I prayed I felt He would do it because I believed in Him, and He knew what I needed. Not to my own credit, by any means, because I could tell my mind was tempted to go back to doubting that He would. I am really good at wavering when left to myself.

So Rob scooted me out of the room and took over, and I went to bed and thought something like watch God go and make him sleep through the night.

What do you think happened?

You already know, don't you? :)

At 8:30, I had to wake the baby up so Rob could get ready for work. My child has never slept more than a few hours in his whole life. And he slept 8.5 hours straight.

Who is our God? 

Does He not delight in giving His children good gifts?? 

He certainly must!! I was amazed to see this on the clock this morning as I grabbed my coffee with the baby still in his bed:


Our Father provided abundant sleep for his daughter in the most miraculous way last night. And He provided both the faith and the blessing. I'm in awe of Him. It makes me cry like a baby to think of how faithless I am and how faithful He is still.

The Word of God is living and active, and our God still displays His glory and power in miraculous ways, today.

I never really understood why Jesus cursed an out of season fig tree. But the whole thing wasn't about a tree or its lack of fruit necessarily- according to Jesus, it was a lesson about the disciples' faith, and even my faith, 2000 years later.

Sleeping through the night was my mountain to be thrown into the sea. It seemed impossible just yesterday. 

Yet, with the tiniest, weakest bit of faith He did something huge in my life. I don't deserve that good gift, and yet He provided abundantly for me. His love for me is incredible, and the power of His Word is never lacking, and it reaches so much further than I can even comprehend. 

His Word is alive and powerful today. Not just then. 

Today.

Even thousands of years later-- our God is still working miracles through fig trees. 




p.s......thank you for praying.  :)

26 comments

Barbara said...

<3 I have had wavering Faith in a specific area and this was PERFECT for my heart to hear today! Thank you!

Jennifer Morgan said...

That just blessed my heart in the best kind of way! I struggle daily with a wavering faith; praying for things and not truly thinking God can do it. Oh but I know He can, and your story has encouraged me to strengthen my faith by asking for things according to His will and trusting that He will follow through!
Amen and thank you for sharing :) MY son didn't sleep through the night until he was over a year old, so I totally understand your elation with getting a good nights sleep!!

Kreative Kidd said...

Thank you for the reminder! God is so good! All we have to do is ask and believe, yet we struggle with believing. I wrote a post in December about how my faith was tested and how God provides what His children need when they need something.

http://kiddskreations.blogspot.com/2013/12/cause-ya-gotta-have-faith.html

BlessedHaven said...

Hey! Thanks so much for sharing! U know i was facing abit of a challenge now as i found out i am pregnant. Fears just come back and gripped me because of the past experience. This sharing of Fig tree is such an amazing testimony of what God can do for us when we have the faith to simply just trust in God! Yes He indeed give His children good gifts and u reminded well that He gives us the desires of our heart and also children are rewards from God. I am blessed beyond measure as i read your account and now i am going to confess His word the same way over my pregnancy for the next 9 months. Thanks you so much for writing this post!

Vi said...

I needed this today!!! We are in our adoption journey have been waiting for over a year and a half to be chosen for our next child. During this time we've had one failed adoption and 6-8 times a biological mom has connected with another families profile over ours. We have a 6 year old bio son that was truly a gift from God since I deal with infertility. I struggle with my faith and being afraid to ASK God boldly for a child. I always wonder if adoption is His will for us, yet if he never intended for us to have more children why would He put the desire and willingness to adopt into our hearts? I know our faith needs to be stronger in this area and have started to ask God specifically for a child this year if it's His will. I have to TRUST and stop second guessing why we are where we're at in this journey. Thank you again for sharing what God has revealed to you! It has blessed me so much!

Amanda said...

I just grinned my way through this post :) thanks for sharing Mandy!

Angela ~ Call Her Blessed said...

Great post!
{We have two containers of figs from Trader Joe's in our fridge right now.}

The Pusch Family said...

Thank you soo much for posting this! I have a 7 month old sweet baby girl who does.not sleep more than a few hours at night. I beg God to let her sleep but in my heart I think I doubt. I need to have the faith that HE can do it! She was our answer to prayer, her life verse is Psalm 37:4- she was the desire of our heart, I know God will bless us with rest and sleep too! Thanks for the awesome reminder.

l. flores said...

Thank You For Sharing This It Was A Blessing To Read.It Reminded Me Of A Tesimony That God Did In My Life A Couple Of Years Back, At The Time My Son Was About 7 Months Old And He Was Crawling Around And While He Was Crawling I Was Schooling My Oldest Daughter When I Heard Him Start Making Weird Noises And I Turned Around And He had Found A Penny On The Floor And Had Swallowed It And Was Gasping For air. Right Away I Grabed Him And Started Feeling Around In His Mouth But I Didn't Feel Anything So I Knew It Was Too Far Down. My Daughter And I Was Scared And Started Crying Out To God, My Son Was Already Changing Colors And Within Seconds Of Praying And crying Out To God. God Hear My Prayer And Within Seconds The Penny Popped Right Out. I Am So Thankful To Be Serving A Awesome God That Is So Mindful Of Us even When We Don't Deserve It But I Am Thankful And grateful For His Mercy And Grace And For All He Does For My Family And I. I Just Wanted To Share This With You And Hope It Blesses You As Your Testimony Has Blessed Me And Uplifted My Faith More In Our Lord Jesus! Thank you

Anonymous said...

I come from Holland and my English is not so good. Sorry! but I understand your blog, and it is great! God gives words about the ocean! Thank you holy sister!

Loves,
Marije
(Marije.em@live.nl)

Margaret said...

Thank you for writing this! I struggle with very similar issues... I'm often too practical to think that God would say yes to many of my prayer requests.... so my prayer life sometimes becomes just a "Whatever You want, God". But I love your reminder that God does encourage us to have faith! So neat that He gave you a small taste of that with your baby's long night's sleep. :-)

Jessica said...

I love this ! I completely relate to what you said about faith. Our God is SO good, and cares for us so much. Thanks for sharing!

Amy Joy said...

I mentor a young Saudi Arabia woman, and her husband told me that it is commonly said there that a person can live healthily on just figs and milk:)

Loni said...

Today's post hit me right where I needed it. I'm praying right now that the Lord will bless me with a full time teaching job (after working 7 years as a substitute teacher I've really begun to doubt that God will answer my prayer). You have helped remind me that our awesome Father takes care of his children and gives them what they need. Thank you so much Mandy for sharing your wonderful faith!

AmberRay said...

Great story on faith and prayer! Yahweh will grow our faith and teach us to trust him and walk in his son Yahshua's ways., HalleluYah! Throughout the bible wisdom is mentioned
"Behold, Thou dost desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part Thou wilt make me know wisdom." Psalm 51:6
"But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all men generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him." James 1:5
The number 1 prayer we can and should pray is for wisdom and discernment and it wil be given on to us. May you have a blessed week and May Yahweh show you great and mighty things.

Anonymous said...

Love and Wisdom are showered on us every moment of every day... all we have to do is open our hearts and minds.
I bought a bag of those figs too, and, like one of your children, was not impressed LOL I grew up with a fig tree in our garden and eating fresh figs.
Blessing on you and the next time you see fresh figs for sale, but them (especially if you are at a farmers' market).

survivingtoddlerhood.com said...

What a beautiful reminder! I'm right there with you. I want to think that I have unwavering faith, but in the back of my mind I always wonder "will God show up?" I find your posts so encouraging. Thank you for sharing with honesty and grace.

Courtney said...

My faith has been wavering, too, lately. It truly is a daily effort to die to myself.

Anita Lauer said...

If you like figs at all, you should look try some fig jam. It is really yummy. And one more thing about the fig palm. It's trunk does not look easy to climb and it has a lot of sharp edges, so if Zaccheus decided to climb one while wearing a tunic sort of garment that didn't protect his legs, (pants had not been invented yet!) he must have wanted to see Jesus REALLY bad!!!

Bree Pollock said...

Rejoicing with you that you got some much needed rest!! :)

Tiffany H. said...

Mandy, the first part of your post (before the sleepless baby) sounds like an entry out of my journal. There was a time tho, when I knew plainly that I was praying for God's will. A girlfriend who has 5 kids and is a stay-at-home mom suddenly found herself alone - her husband out of nowhere left her to live with another woman. It was a shock to everyone who knew him, but his wife was faithful. Two churches and many believers began praying for restoration. We KNEW God's desire was for the marriage to succeed. God provided miraculously for the family during that time, the husband finally came to repentance, and they are working through it together. I can't imagine being in her shoes, but God gave her a graceful, forgiving heart and the family is stronger than ever. God's will was done! I struggle with everything you said tho - how do you know if it's God's will if something happens or not? Sometimes He is taking us through the trial (sickness, sleeplessness, pain, etc) because He knows in the end it will teach us something we could learn no other way. It's so hard, but comforting to know He promised to never leave or forsake us! :)
Thank you so much for sharing your heart and being such a good teacher! I'm sure many a woman has been encouraged by your openness, as I am right now. :)
God bless you with more sleep-filled nights!
Tiffany H.
wholesomehousewife.com

Lindsey Hellrung said...

I just want to say thank you to being faithful and saying what God has put on your heart in your blog! It is a blessing to me to read what God is doing in your life.

Erin Bull said...

Wow!!! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. lately, and often, I decide that being surrendered to God's will requires that I don't expect big things of Him, so that I avoid disappointment, but that is SO wrong! Our God can do huge things, and my lack of faith that he will is keeping me from experiencing those huge things. :/ Thank you for sharing this!

Erin Bull said...

Wow!!! This is exactly what I needed to hear today. lately, and often, I decide that being surrendered to God's will requires that I don't expect big things of Him, so that I avoid disappointment, but that is SO wrong! Our God can do huge things, and my lack of faith that he will is keeping me from experiencing those huge things. :/ Thank you for sharing this!

Anonymous said...

Why should he help? In the face of everyone in the entire world, why should we pray for God to help us with small things? Why are we/you more blessed than others?

Anonymous said...

There are a lot of white, privileged people feeling blessed in these comments. Why does God answer your prayers and not the prayers of the poor?