Thistles and Figs


Times of transition are challenging for most of us, but for me they can turn dangerous. I find myself in such turmoil that I sometimes throw more than I should into the mix. My subconscious reasoning seems to follow this line – if I’m already going through a time of upheaval, why not just change it all up…try to sneak in a couple changes of my own. Sigh…that has never worked out well for me.

The last few months I have allowed far too many distractions into my life. I’ve been far too preoccupied with filling time, even with unhealthy relationships. I’ve been far too willing to stuff moments with mind-numbing activities, eating up the space that is normally protected and reserved for spiritual growth. Far too open to compromise and smear boundary lines out of curiosity, frustration, and even rebellion, all in the attempt to avoid pulling a few weeds that have been found in my garden.

Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.
Matthew 7: 16-19

Why do I want to hold onto, even protect, a weed in my heart?? I know all too well that bad fruit is unfulfilling and completely disappointing. But look, even a weed can be beautiful when viewed from the right angle at the right time. When a weed is all you know, you might find yourself keeping it around for its moments of rare and fleeting beauty. It takes faith to believe something better can grow there.


In reality, most of the time a thistle weed is ugly and covered in sharp prickles. Once established, it spreads quickly, replacing native plants. It can spread 10 -12′ in one season (Noxious Weed Control Board, WA State). It doesn’t look good, feel good, or satisfy our hunger.


Yesterday it hit me in a whole new way – there are a couple areas in my life that I keep trying desperately to squeeze something sweet out of a weed. I keep getting disappointed when my thistles don’t produce figs, and keep complaining when they hurt me. I’m threatening the fig trees in my garden with a noxious weed and, by attaching such a sick fascination on the untouchable and inedible thistle flower, keeping myself from enjoying the good fruit that is trying to grow for me.

Yuck!! These moments of clarity are so gross, but so good. I feel challenged to increase my TRUST – to allow all that is harmful to be uprooted. It’s a no-brainer in theory, but sometimes hard to know how to surrender all I know. I’m thankful for his voice of direction, and that he guides every move we allow. Time to do some weeding!

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
Isaiah 30:21