We were recently journeying through the interior of Guatemala, Central America. It was the “dry” season and there was scarcely a bit of green to be seen. Mountain, valley, and plain were alike dry and parched with the tropical heat, and it seemed as if a match struck anywhere would set the whole country in a blaze. After more than one hundred miles of this colourless scenery the constant sight of burnt and apparently dead vegetation became almost painful. But the absence of anything to relieve the eye was not total. Here and there was to be seen a rich green shrub or tree, standing out in all its living freshness from the background of withered and leafless bush around it. Its nature must have been markedly different from that of the other vegetation. Some of these shrubs were covered with the most beautiful golden yellow blossoms; and we thought, as we looked with pleasure at them, of the Christian as he is, or might, or should be in this desert world. All about him is spiritual death and fruitlessness; ready to be consumed by the fire of judgment, at the kindling of the wrath of a long-suffering and long-insulted God.
But as God looks down from heaven upon it all, who will say that His eye finds no pleasure in the freshness and fruitfulness of His saints! Oh, may our “leaf” not “wither.” We have a nature given us that can and does, live when all around is death. And we are as plants set to bud and blossom for the pleasure of our God in the midst of a scene where there is everything to grieve His Holy Spirit and provoke Him to His strange work of judgment.
But how can the Christian keep fresh and green in the midst of the surrounding dearth and death?
Thank God! The Lord Jesus has been here and has left us an example that we should walk in His steps.
He grew up before God as a tender plant — “a plant of renown;” He was the one living root out of a dry ground; and though men saw no beauty in Him, He was the Father’s well-beloved in whom was all His delight.
He it is who was “like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season,” and whose “leaf also shall not wither” (Ps. 1). For ‘His delight was in the law of the Lord; and in His law [did] He meditate day and night.’
Let this same blessed law — the Word of God — be thy food and meditation, O child of God, then shalt thou grow and keep green; and though no other eye finds pleasure in thy freshness and fruit, God’s eye will behold it.
“We’ve now to please but One.”