About three years ago, two of his trees were stricken by blight, a fungus that sought to destroy them. Dave, our next-door neighbor who has orange groves, told Don the trees most likely could not be saved. But, Don went to Lowes anyway to get information on what to do. They told him about a spray that may cure the trees after many applications. Much work went into dressing to protect himself from the spray as well as the actual spraying of the trees.
After making several applications, Dave had compassion on Don's efforts and came over and helped him prune and spray the trees. Observing the trimmed trees, I wondered if these poor trees would ever produce again. The first season, there was no fruit. The second season brought a few oranges and grapefruit, but they were inedible. The third season produced good fruit. To this day, Dave continues to prune and spray the trees and advise Don on their care.
Let's compare ourselves to a tree -- Jesus did say, "I am the vine and you are the branches" (John 15:5). The purpose of this spiritual tree is to bear fruit. However, Mr. Devil will devise every trick he has to place blight on our tree. If we succumb to his efforts, our tree will suffer. The tree may still stand, but the fruit is damaged or non-existent. It is not time to give up.
Because of God's mercy, he may extend the destruction date while we work on our tree. In one of Jesus' parables, he gave the story of a gardener who had a fig tree that would not bear fruit. When the master told him to cut it down, he begged for one more season, and the master agreed. The lesson I see from this story is that God will give us another season to repair the damage to our spiritual tree. It will take work on our part because spiritual trees do not cure themselves.
The process may take some fertilizer (the Word of God), some pruning (getting rid of negative thoughts and actions), and some spraying (covering ourselves with prayer). Restoration does not come overnight. The walk with God deepens as we follow that path of righteous that he sets for us. Psalm 23, "He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake."