It's true she hasn't blossomed since before the war. But one day, with a little kindness and patience, she may again. Not in my lifetime perhaps, but one day! I'm sure of it.The children, inspired by the old man's devotion and hope, agree to join him in his efforts to nurse the tree back to life. They work hard, but much of their time is spent waiting and hoping.
Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect. (Heb 11:39-40)Two things are striking about this passage. First, none of these exemplars of faith received what God promised, yet they remained faithful. Like the old man in The Cherry Tree, their faithfulness was not contingent on their seeing, in their own day, that for which they longed. Second and perhaps even more striking, the completion and perfection of God's promise--a promise these men and women of faith longed to see fulfilled--will not be brought about apart from us. This, it seems, is why we find ourselves "surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses" (Heb 12:1). They have run their legs of the relay and have passed the baton to us. The race is far from over and they remain in the stands, cheering us on--not least because they know their promised reward will not be secured apart from us. Is it really thinkable that we who find ourselves on the track, though tired and even perhaps lagging behind where we would like to be, would simply take off our running shoes and head home once it became clear that the race would extend beyond our lifetimes and that we could not be assured that we would be ahead by the time we passed from the scene?
Labels: cherry tree, hope, inspiration, Japan, japanese culture, japanese stories, joy, life on the vine, missions in japan