They say the soil of Uganda is so fertile you can plunge a stick into the ground and it will sprout. People have reported sprouts on fence posts. Gardeners who use wooden poles to shore up their rose bushes often find them budding with new leaves. The joke is that you can poke a pencil into Ugandan topsoil and grow a tree.
Sometimes we go through periods when we feel as dry and dead as a stick. We feel like we have nothing to offer, that our fruitful days have ended. These thoughts can be brought on by sickness, age, disappointment and plain old exhaustion.
In Uganda, it’s the 10 meters of fertile topsoil that causes dried up sticks to come to life again. The soil may look like ordinary dirt but it’s brimming with life-giving minerals.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. (Palm 51:12)
What can bring new life to a spiritually dried up stick? Going back to simple spiritual practices – Bible reading and prayer. Our lives move at such a fast pace that it’s easy to forget the importance of the first two things we learned as Christians – read your Bible and pray every day.
Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)
Can people who feel like dead sticks bloom again? Yes. Always. We can’t always become the workers we were in the past but we can become fruitful, new improved versions of our former selves.
And I will bring the blind by a way that they know not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known. I will make darkness into light before them and make uneven places into a plain. These things I have determined to do [for them]; and I will not leave them forsaken. (Isaiah 42:16)
Prayer – Lord, help me to long for closeness with you more than I long to be active for you. Help me to see that I don’t have to be running and doing to please you because much is accomplished in the quiet times I spend with you.