I spent 3 hours this morning with two of my besties here in Spain talking, praying and reflecting as we like to do. We express our hearts about what life is bringing at present while the others listen intently first to the sharer, then to God. Insights, scriptures, word pictures and phrases often catch in our souls for one another and we talk about them and pray for each other. I frankly don´t know what I´d do without them.
After a rather emotional time for me this morning expressing my present dark phase, they were undaunted and listened intently to God on my behalf. They heard some amazing, encouraging things and ministered to me with such compassion that I left sensing light and also, a literal turning point.
Later in the afternoon, one of them wrote to me and said that while she was driving to an appointment she noticed that the almond trees are blossoming here in Andalucía. I had noticed it, too, the day before; they are the first to bloom here. But today it caught her attention because we had talked a lot about vineyards and pruning and seasons; I myself expressed that I was definitely in a ¨winter¨ season with little progress to notice at first glimpse. But we reflected on the well-known fact that winter, while to the eyes seems like a barren time, really has some profound things going on. This is the time of year when, underneath the soil, the roots are going deep. During the sometimes long, dark, cold season of winter, there is much more than meets the eye! It is a time to trust and believe in what is really happening - and in what is to come.
But to think that some things actually blossom in the winter! That was a fresh thought to me today. To think what it must be for almonds to blossom earlier than everything else! What must their secret be?
The almond tree is the first to blossom and the last to bear fruit. Almond trees are present in the Scriptures and are particularly associated with ¨one of the earliest prophecies of young Jeremiah.¨*
¨The word of the Lord came to me: ¨What do you see, Jeremiah?¨
¨I see the branch of an almond tree, ¨ I replied.
The Lord said to me, ¨You have seen correctly,
for I am watching to see that my word is fulfilled.¨
Jeremiah 1:11, 12
It gets even better: The Hebrew word for almond, shaked, is also translated ¨to watch¨. By seeing the almond branch, God assured Jeremiah that He is watching over His word to bring it to pass, no matter the passage of time.¨* Almonds are clearly associated with God's watchful presence and promises for future fulfillment of His promises - even during our most wintry of times.
The almond trees around Andalucía where I am blessed to live are just coming alive this week and I am so touched to see their faith-filled prelude to spring. The Almendros and their flowers are a symbol of awakening and hope - to all that God promises to watch over and fulfill.
May your day be blessed with (literal and/or figurative) almond blossoms!
Photos in order of appearance: Sydney and Theophilus Papadopoulos
Quote from: Dr. Juergen Buehler, ICEJ (Int´l Christian Embassy in Jerusalem) Executive Director