The Shepherd’s Tree

Evident to me during my morning intercessory prayer, I was praying for a happy ending for those I prayed. A moment after, I felt this was not quite right. A happy ending was my desire and hope for each. I think the happy ending for which I prayed was a sincere asking for God’s mercy. I pray this because I know He is merciful. But following this sense, I also knew I should pray for God’s will to be done in each instance of intercession. Should I, in earnest prayer, seek to remove what God has in store for someone’s journey?

But within His will, doesn’t mercy demand justice? Is not justice a form of mercy and in what form do we experience it? Only a lifetime of exposure can impart this truth, a trail of failure alongside grace received. Not all can see, will see, should see. All do not reach the other side of justice to receive the mercy God intends. In the doing we call life, mercy must be balanced by justice if we are to come to God in humility. And isn’t this the only way we can come to Him?

But what of justice for those I prayed? I thought I should allow God and pray more each should come to the other side of struggle closer to Him with a clearer view of His love for them. After all, justice in its purity is the struggle leading to our awakening and each must come to his own. Do not we need to ultimately know before whom we stand?

No teaching led me to this, only realization, the coming together through the experience from all my struggles before. Prayer must possess a desire for God’s will in each life for which I pray, no matter the outcome I desire. God’s perfecting grace is better than any happy ending of which I can conceive, sufficient beyond my ability to see. What must I lay at the altar but my submission to His better ending. Our Lord meant it when he asked me to pray “Thy will be done.”

But it also occurs to me my prayer for the happy ending is also God’s will, that I should have a merciful heart to walk alongside those in struggle, that my heart should be weighed. God’s will extends to those who pray and those who receive prayer. Does not the one who prays and the one who struggles discover something of the heart?

Every mercy, every struggle, each prayer is a blessing received from God from the root of His own heart. This may all be likened to the Shepherd’s tree that grows deep roots in arid, desert climates much like the desert of our struggle. From those deep roots grow a strong and durable wood with a canopy suited for rest from the climate. Struggle is the Shepherd’s tree. And through it, we grow deep roots and become strong so we may also provide a canopy of rest for our brothers and sisters.

God’s will be done.

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