When I pull it indoors, the tree is still full of leaves; gorgeous and green. However, after about a week inside away from the sun, the leaves start to turn brown and fall off.
But, in late March, a beautiful thing begins to happen. The tree, resting in the dark all alone, starts to produce leaves.
I love the lesson I am reminded of every year when this happens. Are there times that we think we’ve got it all under control, things are buzzing along fine, and we see no need to change our pace and then – bam! – our life suddenly switches gears? We go from 100mph to 0 faster than we can blink.
We sit there stunned, wondering why this happened. We thought it was all going great and it was all under control! We were just like that fig tree in October, green and fully leafed out in all our glory.
But we didn’t know about the frost coming that could kill us. We didn’t know about the winter and that going at the pace we were going, we were bound to burn out.
If the fig tree didn’t have it’s winter rest, safe in the dark room, it wouldn’t have the energy to produce those delicious figs come August. If you are in this season of waiting right now, how can you use it to build up your resources and to take an intentional rest?
I also love the symbolism of the resurrection that this fig tree gives us.
But, despite it’s dead-looking condition and it’s dark climate, it comes alive nonetheless.
Jesus’ followers felt this on a grander scale.
Their King had been crucified. They had such hopes for the future with Jesus in the lead and then it all came to a horrific end. Jesus was dead and was sealed in a dark, cold tomb.
But, death and a dark burial could not defeat the resurrection power of Jesus.
We are dead in our sins, bound for the darkness of hell. But Jesus offers us life, resurrection from death, and hope of heaven.
He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay.
Matthew 28:6 (NIV)
I pray you are encouraged by the image of the fig tree. If you are in this period of Winter, take heart, Spring always comes. And if you are seeking something better than this life has to offer, you can find hope in the story of the fig tree and the gift of grace and resurrection power that Jesus offers to you today.