Bearing Fruit Where We Are Planted

SHARON ROCKWELL|GUEST

My husband and I are retired, so over the past few months of self-quarantining, we have received offers for various types of help. Neighbors called to see if we needed anything done around the house. Friends’ children who live near us offered to do shopping. Our own children checked in on us regularly to see how we were doing, sometimes leaving suggestions for good movies or TV shows to watch to pass the time.

Where Daniel Was Planted

Thankful as we are for all this attention, it confirms that we were now considered among the “old-and-at-risk” population. One day I was listening to a podcast series about Daniel and it struck me anew that Daniel was in my same age category when he was thrown into the lion’s den. Wow! At the same age that I am stuck in my house watching TV reruns, Daniel was standing up for his convictions by publicly praying to the one true God. He refused to compromise his spiritual life after colleagues unfairly duped king Darius into issuing his proclamation prohibiting worship of all gods except himself. Daniel knew how to respond to unfair treatment. He thanked God despite the injustice.

I went back and studied Daniel with a new perspective. Daniel flourished where he was planted. God placed him in Babylon as a young man where he lived with determination not to conform to the ways of the world, but obeying God, trusting Him, and purposing his heart to turn from sin. The entire book of Daniel confirms the blessings of knowing God. Daniel was a man of prayer, regular and disciplined in his worship habits. He knew that God hears and honors the prayers of the faithful. Daniel trusted God’s Word to the end of his life and as a prophet, God allowed him to interpret dreams for the Babylonian kings.

Bearing Fruit Where We Are Planted

This spurred my thinking. I have been planted in a house without visitors. I am healthy (though admittedly slowing down), experienced in life, willing to work, but seemingly now without much purpose. Surely God has some unique work for those of us stuck at home. Ephesians 2:10 confirms “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” I only needed to listen to get God’s answer.

In each of the phone calls from friends and neighbors I started inquiring about what was going on in the lives of their families. One woman talked about her sadness in not being able to see her mother in a nursing home. We prayed together to lift the depression that she sensed in her mother and talked about writing letters that her mom could hold and reread as a tangible sign of her daughter’s love. Young families who were so generous in picking up groceries on their weekly trips shared how difficult it was to be working from home, to be helping their children with on-line learning, and to have younger children cooped up in the house. We prayed together for patience. Once a thought came to my mind about a children’s series that kept my children entertained when they were about the same age. How could anyone resist the silly antics of Amelia Bedelia? The books turned out to be hit!

Prayer in Troubled Times

Daniel was committed to the long-term view of God’s kingdom. He trusted God’s word in his youth and depended on Him throughout his life, staying where God had planted him, persevering in prayer and living a God-centered life. We need to be more like Daniel in these troubled times. Those of us who have lived long enough to see that God sometimes answers prayers years later, know that prayer is not just personal requests we shoot up to heaven. When we pray, we are fighting Satan’s kingdom and when we encounter resistance that is a signal to pray even harder. We need to be on our knees like Daniel, praying prayers of thanksgiving and intercession. We need to pray for God’s will in our lives and in the lives of others. We need to pray for our families, our neighbors, our friends, our communities, and our country.

Psalm 92:12-15 reminds us that in all our days we can bear fruit where we are planted:

“The righteous flourish like the palm tree
and grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
They are planted in the house of the Lord;
they flourish in the courts of our God.
They still bear fruit in old age; they are ever full of sap and green,
to declare that the Lord is upright;
he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him.”

Lord, you are my rock, and you have planted me in this house without visitors for a season. Let me use my time wisely, to worship You, and to pray for others who need encouragement. Let me be like Daniel, obedient to your Word, honoring only You, bearing fruit where I am planted and not growing weary in the process.

About the Author:

Sharon Rockwell

Sharon is recently retired from a career first as a chemist and then as a regulatory affairs consultant to the medical device industry.  She has served on the women’s ministry team at Grace Presbyterian Church in her hometown of Yorba Linda, California, and has worked as the west coast regional advisor for the PCA.  Her husband, two married daughters and two married sons are all engineers, who provide interesting technical conversations for a dinner table.  Sharon is working on completing her bucket list which includes raising orchids, attending culinary school, bird watching and traveling.  She has three baby granddaughters and is looking forward to the new grandson coming soon.

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