Planted like a Pecan Tree

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 

Genesis 1:1

This morning I woke up around 6 a.m. and I began to pray. I walked towards our dining room area where there is a set of windows overlooking the back of our nine-acre land. I stood there and I took in the view. I remember my mom telling my siblings and I just yesterday that God can speak to us through nature. That if we pay close attention to the beauty around us, that we will get to experience God’s beauty, by truly appreciating His works. The works of our Creator from the beginning of time.

I told God that. Those exact words. I said , “God, mami told me that I can hear you through what I’m seeing right now.” I said that and then I kept looking around, waiting. My mind wandered a bit and then something beautiful happened… God spoke.

I didn’t hear Him out loud, it wasn’t like a deep voice that spoke into my ear, but it was Him nonetheless. I saw Him in the pecan tree in the backyard. It wasn’t like the burning bush scenario from Exodus either, although that would have been quite the sight.

When we first bought this land (that’s a whole other testimony I will post one day), we didn’t realize that it was a pecan farm. During that time, we were merely focused on just getting the land, fighting for our blessing. The pecans were a plus, we were excited that we could get to experience something so beautiful. There were pecans everywhere on the ground, they kept falling from the trees by the dozens.

So back to how God spoke to me through the pecan tree. I’m not much of an expert on trees, but pecan trees are huge. Like really huge. Well, the thing is, I was staring out into the land and I began to notice the pecan tree. I started to notice the vast size difference between the pecan trees and all of the other smaller (normal) trees around it. I noticed something very peculiar, something we often don’t pay attention to, or at least I didn’t. I noticed that the trunk of the pecan tree was very small compared to all of the many branches it has to support. This is the part where I knew God was trying to tell me something.

I began to wonder how in the world could such a tiny trunk hold so many branches full of leaves and pecans (when in season). Then out of this simple visual, He explained to me something very important. I wasn’t seeing the full picture.

God began to show me the roots under the tree. He told me how this tree could only be supported by a very strong root system. The roots were what was holding this giant of a tree up during even the worst of storms. This was impressive, something I don’t often think about. And then God showed me more.

I now saw the trunk of this tree as myself. I looked up into the many branches of this tree and instead of branches, I saw the many lives I could have an impact on during my time here on earth. Instead of leaves, I saw the many lives those branches could then impact. I saw a chain of events that could only be possible by a strong root system. I saw God as my root system and the Gospel of Jesus Christ as the catalyst that could create and enable such a chain of events. Only through the unconditional love and sacrifice of Jesus could all of this be possible.

If I continue to let God’s word and His presence fill my life though that strong root system , then I can live and preach the gospel of Jesus Christ to others through His strength and not mine. What about the sun? Aside from a strong root system, we also need the sun to survive right? There is a process called photosynthesis, this process occurs when trees use energy from the sun to create sugars that it needs to survive. When it comes to us, God provided a helper in this case. Before Jesus made the biggest, most selfless sacrifice in all of history, before He was crucified, before He died for our sins, He thought of us. Jesus asked the Father to send us a helper, to not only comfort us, but to teach us as well.

“If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 

John 14: 15-17

The same way a pecan tree needs the sun to survive, we need the Holy Spirit in our lives. He is our helper, our comforter, He will speak for us in times of trouble. He will also help you speak when you are too scared to speak. He will help you spread the Gospel to your friends and your family. He is helping me write this right now. Sometimes our hearts are there, the intention is there, we long to spread the love of Jesus to others, but too often we are scared. Trust me, I know what that feels like. I had been living in fear most of my life, too afraid that I wasn’t good enough or that I wasn’t enough. Too afraid that I didn’t know what I would say, or I would mess up or blank out. Too afraid of being embarrassed. But what was I saying to God by feeling that way? I was putting God in a box. I wasn’t seeing God as He truly is, as the Creator of everything. I was seeing God how I wanted to see Him and not as He truly is. I was putting limits on the limitless God of the Universe. I’m not going to lie to you and say that I am perfect. Because I’m not. The only thing I am doing different now that I didn’t do before is: I am letting God be God.

Let God be God.

If we begin to trust in God and begin to fully grasp that without Him we cannot withstand the storms of this life, then we will be like the pecan tree. We will have strong root systems, we will be able to spread the Gospel and the love of Jesus to everyone around us, we will begin to let the Holy Spirit do the talking. We will let God be God in our lives.

As we begin to develop in this, the branches that you will begin to see will be many. Don’t be discouraged if some of those branches fall though. Something really important about pecan trees that my family and I have witnessed is that whenever you walk under a pecan tree you have to always check for falling branches. There have been days where we could be outside just talking or watering plants, and all of the sudden we hear a snap similar to the sound of a lighting strike, and it turns out just to be a branch from one of the trees. These branches can vary in size, but most of the time, they are pretty big and thick branches. They can pose danger if you are not paying attention.

This being said, during your life, there will be branches that fall. Sadly there will be people that simply don’t want Jesus. You may not see it, but Jesus sees their hearts, and those hearts could be set on not wanting Christ. When those things happen, those branches fall away and we have to let them. Although it’s hard, you move on to the next person, but you keep praying for that fallen branch, you never know what God will do in that person’s life when your’e not around.

When Jesus was on earth spreading the Good news with His disciples, He would travel from town to town. He moved fast, often not staying in the same place for long periods of time. Why? Because He knew that He had very little time and there were many lives that He could reach. That same way, we should be moving fast, not dwelling on the branches that fall, God will take care of them. Our time is drawing to an end. Jesus is coming soon and it should be our priority to help those around us be saved.

When it comes to the Gospel, we can’t force people to believe. We can’t shove Jesus down people’s throats, that’s not how it works. All we have to do is spread the message, be there for people, show them the love of Christ. The Holy Spirit will guide you and God will do the rest. We have so many means available today to do God’s work. These days you can preach the Gospel right outside your local grocery store. You can preach the Gospel to your boss, to your coworkers, to your family. Listen to God and He will place you where there is need of that anointing that you carry, even if He places you in the most unlikely of places.

Look around you. Who needs saving? Your family, your friends? Do you need saving?

The good news is that you can give your life to Christ at any moment. You can give your life to Christ right now. I invite you to do so with this very simple prayer. Wherever you are right now, repeat these words and believe them will all your heart, soul, and mind:

Dear Jesus,

I know I am a sinner, I ask you to please forgive me. I believe that you died for me on the Cross and that you rose from the grave. I trust you as my Lord and Savior. Please guide me, guide my life so that I may do your will. In your name I pray. Amen.

“Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved.” 

Romans 10:13

I thank Jesus that He brought you here today. You are not alone, trust in the Lord, He is always with you. Let Him become those strong roots in your life, He will help you stand firm through the many storms of life. And please feel free to contact me if you need prayer. You are not alone.

I invite you to share this message with your family or a friend, you never know who may need it.

God Bless,

Nicole Rivera

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