Friday, January 28, 2022

Five Minute Friday :: Trial

tree in paradise all my trials healing of nations
There grows a tree in Paradise
The Pilgrims called it the Tree of Life…
The leaves of the tree
Are for the healing of the nations

Art copyright © Leah Chang / Sun Tree River Design

Five Minute Friday Linkup :: Trial

All My Trials

I had a little book was given to me,
And every page spells liberty,
All my trials Lord, soon be over.
Too late my brothers, too late
But never mind,
All my trials Lord, soon be over.

There grows a tree in Paradise,
The Pilgrims call it the tree of life,
All my trials Lord, soon be over.
Too late my brothers, too late
But never mind.
All my trials Lord, soon be over.

Excerpt from traditional Bahamian spiritual; full lyrics on Daily Prayer Ministries accessed Thursday 27 January 2022


"All my trials, Lord, soon be over."

Every page spells liberty?! That must be a very very Good Book! Popular theology that's often not very scriptural too often tells us a certain trial or series of trials is necessary for God to achieve God's purpose in a situation and/or for God to refine us into that next stage certain point. As sweet as it would feel were that the truth, many many trials, disappointments, and conundrums we experience are anything but redemptive; too many to count actually slow us down, detour us, and in the end confound what would have been a better path with a healthier outcome. (In themselves they're not salvific, but in the end God redeems them, no surprise.)

Quite a while ago former neighbor and occasional blogger Sara observed the gospel in one word is–remember! As we necessarily focus on preparing for next week, for tomorrow, for next year, or that dream God revealed to us, we can get caught up in the pain of yet another this isn't quite working out; I thought God had already brought me through this particular type of trial (and I even learned a whole lot from it), but rather than agonizing about each trial du jour, we need to remember the witness of scripture—especially exodus and easter! Those events spell liberty for the future, freedom from a past in bondage to sin and death. Those events point toward the not yet for us that yet is a place God already has gone and waits for us to arrive. Exodus and Easter summon us into well-stewarded creation with pristine waterways, gift-laden trees, a cosmos that thrives and helps heal. Toward the time all our trials are over.

Several times I've quoted Cornel West and I need to remember his reminder, "We are people of hope! Why do we party on Friday nights? Why do we go to church on Sundays?" Because we are Easter people, who love to and who need to practice resurrection! Gospeled Good News from the Good Book!

"The Leaves of the Tree are for the Healing of the Nations."
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