Unto The End
If Hurricane Florence taught me anything about preparation (see Even When…), it also delivered a strong message in perseverance. The news reports that Florence will make history for the record amount of rain it dumped. It rained and rained for days…the hurricane persisted, taking it’s good old time to move on.
May we have that same perseverance in our faith. May we fight to the end.
I came across a beautiful reminder from Lilias Trotter the other day of the importance of persevering:
“[Olive Trees] were ranged in their terraces on the mountainside, by scores and hundreds…’Unto the end’ echoed from them all. They had outlasted, some of them, to men’s knowledge, five hundred years of scorching drought and winter storm. Branches that had seemed needful for symmetry had been pruned off one after another, to concentrate the life current in those that remained. There were many whose very foothold had been almost swept away, and yet they reared themselves on stilt-like roots—immovable. The writhe and the wrestle had penetrated every fibre and muscle and told its own story in silence; and now they stood agains the autumn blue of the sea below, their silvery crowns shimmering in a great peace, intent only on fruit-bearing to the last remnant of their days.”
The imagery here is so beautiful it’s hard to do it justice, but the perseverance of the olive trees is reminiscent of our walk with Christ. So many of you have outlasted the storms, producing fruit ripe for harvest. Your bloom testifies to your perseverance. You reflect the imagery Lilias describes here.
They Had Outlasted
What a beautiful tale you are weaving, my friend, in your perseverance. You outlasted the elements raged against your soul. The blazing heat of the fire has only refined you, rallying your will to press on despite the odds against you. The winter frost has not frozen your heart but melted your tenderness towards the Spirit.
You are a fighter. Born to outlast the storms that come against you. You have learned to fight the good fight, knowing the light and momentary troubles are achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. (1 Tim. 6:2; 2 Cor. 4:17) You may walk with a limp, but the thorn in your flesh testifies to His power in your weakness. (2 Cor. 12:7-9)
You have outlasted the scorching drought and winter storm.
Concentrate the Life Current
You have been pruned. As difficult as the pruning has been, the life current has been preserved. The dead has given way to the new…life. What you once thought necessary, the temporary trappings of this world, no longer satisfies. With open hands, you have relinquished the need for symmetry, the desire to present a perfect picture to others, and exchanged it for the messiness of real life.
The cutting off of the old was painful at the time, however the training produced a harvest of righteousness (Heb. 12:11). What you relinquished to the Gardner’s tender hands, the meticulously manicured but dead branches, were cut and instead the pruning of the fruitful branches produced even more fruit (John 15:2). The Life Current now flows.
You are immovable. Your roots run deep, secure, stilt-like. The winds blow but you are rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in your faith (Col. 2:7). The writhe and the wrestle may penetrate every fibre of your being but still you stand. No one knows your full story, except He who holds the pen. Your suffering in silence solidified stilt-like roots. The tears you shed collected in His bottle, your sorrows recorded in His book (Ps. 56:8)
You possess a trait few today demonstrate—you are immovable. Unwavering in your belief, steadfast in your struggles, there is no storm that can knock you down. You may sway, you may bend, but you will not fall.
Fruit Bearing to the Last Remnant of Days
You have found the peace that flows out of a life of purpose: fruit-bearing unto the end. It is not manufactured hype, social media surface deep. It is the real thing. You are intent on one thing: bearing fruit. You are patient waiting for the right season of bloom, confident your leaves won’t wither and what you do will prosper (Ps. 1:3)
The song of perseverance echoes from your lungs. “Unto the End, Unto the End, Unto the End.”
Lord, make us like these olive trees, persevering Unto the End.