We bought two fig tree saplings three months ago. We promptly brought them home and planted them in our yard. One flourished and has already doubled in size but the other wilted losing the original leaves we brought it home with. For over a month it resembled a stick shoved into the ground. I was about to yank it out and replace it when I walked out of the door this week and found what is pictured above: two new leaves budding on the very top of this supposedly dead stick.
This fig tree reminds me of the young church in Morocco and other parts of the Muslim world. It goes through long periods in the “stick stage” where no growth is visible. I have been tempted to pull it out of the ground thinking it is just a dead stick we have idealistically thrust into the dry sand of North Africa.
But while I judge above ground there is a whole work going on below as the roots slowly take hold deep below the surface. The roots are learning to draw on the substance of Christ and feed the whole stick. Then to my surprisea leaf springs up and then another. My weak faith, shown in the fact that I have not yet yanked out the “stick” but have stopped watering it, becomes sight and I am drawn to praise the Creator who gives life in miraculous ways.
The work of planting churches in the Muslim world requires great confidence in the power of the seed. The visible fruit does not come quickly. There may be no culture more opposed to Christ and His Word that Satan has devised. It is a hard ground on the surface for the workers of the harvest. But God loves to get glory by planting a strong church rooted in the grace of Christ deep into every soil of this world. Would you consider joining the effort to plant churches in North Africa, Turkey, the Middle East, and the Far East where 2 billion Muslims live outside of the reach of the Gospel?