Luke 13:6 - And he told this parable: “A man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it and found none…”
The vineyard owner knows his field. He knows details on which trees bear fruit and which don’t. God sees our true fruitless state and shows it to us so we won’t be deceived into thinking that the shallow religious experience broadly available today is all that’s on offer!
God doesn’t simply wait to judge us one single time at the end of our lives. Doesn’t he judge us regularly while we yet live? Isn’t he a God of correction, not willing that any should perish?
When deconstruction more broadly overtakes a culture, there’s a mass culling. Isn’t this what The Great Dechurching is about? Some estimates say 40 million Americans have stopped going to church in the last 25 years. People realize: “I really don’t believe. Forget this charade. I’ll do my own thing.”
But all of this opens the re-opportunity to know him:
Luke 13:7 - “And he said to the vinedresser, ‘Look, for three years now I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I find none. Cut it down. Why should it use up the ground?’”
Maybe God allows influences into the world at particular times in order to reset the field and reset peoples’ own understanding of where they are with him.
John spoke of this happening in the early church multiple times:
1 John 2:18-19 - Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.
God lets people go - just as the Prodigal Son’s father did - hopeful they’ll soon return and he’s ready to celebrate happily if we do come to our senses to be with him again. Keep going. The journey from that far off place takes time. May we hope im him - him alone.
Luke 15:20 - And [the prodigal son] arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.
Luke 15:7 I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
Why do you complain, Jacob?
Why do you say, Israel,
“My way is hidden from the Lord;
my cause is disregarded by my God”?
Do you not know?
Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God,
the Creator of the ends of the earth.
He will not grow tired or weary,
and his understanding no one can fathom.
He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.