Friday, February 14, 2014

Cedars of Lebanon

Ps. 92:12-15
The righteous man will flourish like the palm tree, He will grow like a cedar in Lebanon. Planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.  They will still yield fruit in old age; they shall stay fresh and very green, proclaiming, "The Lord is upright; He is my rock,and there is no unrighteousness in Him.  

Lucky.  Blessed.  Call it what you want.

Once a week, I get to meet with a small group of seasoned and women who've known our Lord longer than I've been alive, or at least alive in Him.  They are showing me, by their example, as well as within the confines of their words, what it means to love Him for a lifetime.
They have become for me the cedars of Lebanon.  Strong. True. Evergreen.

Right now we're working our way through Romans.  It's slow-going, only because they have so much to say, hear, and learn.  There is a lot to know, and no waning of interest at 60, 70, 80, or pushing 90.

Their strength is revealed in tender ways.  They cannot refer to Jesus' death on the cross without tears in their eyes.  My prayer is that when I reach their ripe old age, I will still be broken and vulnerable when I consider the gift I've been given.

Their knowledge is real and relevant. I don't know if Habakuk comes before or after Malachi, but they do.  There's no pride in their tone;  it's simply a matter of knowing the path and stopping points along the way.  And the knowledge isn't about ordinal position;  it's about the message and where it falls in the grand scheme of things. Context matters, and they are showing me just how much.

The voice of the Lord breaks the cedars;  Yes, the Lord breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon.
Ps. 29:5

Experience is a master teacher.  The men and women in this weekly study group know about studying every day in light of what life brings.  They know about fruits of the spirit because they've been a part of that growth from seedling to sapling to cedar.  They will tell you that the Lord sometimes must break us open, empty us, in order to fill us once again.  He will set us on fire, only to teach us how to persevere.  With a word, with His voice, the Lord spoke us into existence;  they know His voice intimately whether it comes in a gentle whisper or a grievous roar.  They trust the voice that will one day call each of us home, unto Him.

Prayer is a conversation;  reverent dialogue that is deeply personal.  I feel deeply blessed to hear them talk to God.  They tell me what prayer has done, not to change the heart of God, but to change their hearts as well as to lift up the lives of the mothers and fathers, daughters and sons, grandchildren and even grandchildren in their lives. It makes me understand how much I need Him now, and how much I'll need Him then.

Week by week, I bring my wants and needs to our group, and they bring their own as well.  We share a meal, a story, a lesson.  In confidence, we pour out our hearts before each other and before the Lord.  I treasure these cedars...they have shown me the bedrock divinity of God's word in their lives.