A Dry Tree

olive shoots

Oh, prayer time. Often boring, sometimes painful, always worth doing. I do half an hour a day, and today I sat for a full 24 minutes before checking the clock! That’s an achievement. When I saw that there were only 6 minutes left, I decided that was just enough time to get through the next chapter in Isaiah. Here’s what jumped out:

And let not the eunuch say,
‘Behold, I am a dry tree.’
For thus says the Lord:
To the eunuchs who keep my sabbaths,
who choose the things that please me
and hold fast my covenant,
I will give in my house and within my walls
a monument and a name
better than sons and daughters;
I will give them an everlasting name
which shall not be cut off.

I admit, I didn’t want to highlight that one at first. If someone finds my Bible and happens to open to that passage, I don’t want them thinking my, um, equipment doesn’t work. But eh, whatever: let them think what they want. When the Spirit decides to sharpen a verse and stab you in the gut with it (in a good way), you don’t argue.

I think the verse applies not only to me, but to everyone who’s unmarried, whether by choice or otherwise. Children are one of the great blessings of life, it’s true. I always think about that beautiful passage from Psalm 128:

Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.

Who wouldn’t want that? But what does that mean for someone with no wife, no children? Poor me: no vine, no shoots, just a dry stalk.

Not so, says God. What do we, the eunuchs, get? “A monument and a name better than sons and daughters…an everlasting name which shall not be cut off.”

That’s just the sort of comfort the Bible often provides. It’s not terribly specific: it doesn’t say what we’ll get, exactly. That’s frustrating, but it’s also good: we don’t know how to want the right things. Here’s a little T. S. Eliot that comes in handy:

I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope, for hope would be hope for the wrong thing…

I’m not going to sit here and hope for a wife or for children. Or for fame, or for fortune. If I insist on any of those things, I’ll be twisting the path of my life into a direction that might not be natural, might not be what God intends for me, might not fit. I might succeed in getting those things, by brute force. And if that happens, those things will probably make me miserable. Who hasn’t seen a marriage where everyone involved wants out?
But if I do what I can and keep my trust intact; and if, above all, I keep the Lord’s holy days, do the things that please Him, hold fast to His covenant; I’ll be no dry tree, but

a tree planted by running waters,
which yields its fruit in due season
and whose leaf does not wither.

Who are the dry vines, who are the chaff? They are the wicked, and the wind blows them away. My hope is in the name of the Lord, not in the things he gives me; and I will not be shaken.

19 Comments on “A Dry Tree”

  1. Leila says:

    Whoa! This is excellent. And, I have never seen that verse in Isaiah! That is powerful. As a wife with eight children, I have lived out Psalm 128, but I’m thinking that whole Isaiah thing is looking good, too! God amazes….

  2. Anne says:

    Your faith is utterly uplifting to me. Thank you.

  3. Ok, so I know this is old, but I’m new here. You have to know that this blog and all that is coming of it, and will come of it, is your fruitful vine, with more spiritual children than you could ever possibly physically father.

  4. This is so beautiful, thank you for sharing. I just found you via Jen’s Quick Takes.

  5. Nicola says:

    Reading this gave me goosebumps and so much renewed faith in God’s plan for my life. You have a way of spelling out what I feel in my heart is true but can’t articulate.

  6. diane penney says:

    this is beautiful. my college age son has a friend who will find such consolation in this. to date all he has been offered is isolation on one side of the world and lies on the other – and two paragraphs from the catechism. my son has tried articulating what he has been able to digest from theology of the body to him, but in response has gotten facebook messages that read, “not enough, hurry up with something else.” this may be a start. thank you and god bless.

    1. So glad to hear it, Diane. Thanks for passing that along. And I know what you mean by “two paragraphs from the catechism”…slim pickings, really.

      Two books I’d recommend, both of which helped me: The Homosexual Person, by Fr. John Harvey, helped me to understand myself better, and Growth Into Manhood, by Alan Medinger, helped me know what to do about it.

  7. Mary says:

    You are already an inspiration to me Steve. Your writing style is easy, fun, and absolutely beautiful. You’re helping me learn and grow so much! No way are you a dry tree! I think I may be one of your spiritual daughters.

  8. Nellie says:

    Reading your article is like breathing fresh air. I’m a mother of 4 young man and I find it difficult to touch on the gay issues. But SSA, surely makes discussion easier. May God bless you Steve.

  9. Shannon says:

    I loved the part:
    “If I insist on any of those things, I’ll be twisting the path of my life into a direction that might not be natural, might not be what God intends for me, might not fit. I might succeed in getting those things, by brute force. And if that happens, those things will probably make me miserable.”

    As a single woman, it is often hard not to try to force things to happen, and wonder why they aren’t happening how. It is a challenge to live faithfully everyday with trust – humble confidence that God is at work in my life and in the lives of those around me.


  10. Steve says:

    Hey Steve — Have you ever been in love with a man?

  11. Christopher says:

    I never thought of it this way. I only look at the “cross” side of homosexuality and not the opportunity to rely more on God. Michael Voris made a great point about how homosexuals actually can have a more rich and full relationship with God than many heterosexuals, I think it had to do with intimacy with God (although I believe that married heterosexuals can have the same intimacy with Him, but I see his point).

    I was blessed reading this.

    In Nomine Christis,

  12. Chad says:

    That’s really good insight about how one’s insistence on getting something in this life – be it a wife or children or something else assumed to be the key to happiness – is misguided and could actually lead to misery. Good for you for recognizing this, and thanks for sharing with all of us.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    Amazing insights. Wonderful blog.

  14. Ann says:

    I’ve come to the realization that I’ll probably never have a family.
    Just something about my personality.
    27 and never been asked out by a guy. A pattern of them never interested in me. They don’t see me that way or show any interest. (except older married men. Purely innocent, platonic, of course. They love to tell me about their kids.) As for the rest, Never, ever. Only one seemed to see me differently. He saw me as so special.
    And, after losing him, I stopped feeling attracted to men. (Except him)Not wanting to forget him. I want kids and probably won’t have any. But happy, because of Christ in my soul.

    For it is written: “Be glad, O barren woman, who bears no children; break forth and cry aloud, you who have no labor pains; because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband.”

  15. savo says:

    The bond of spiritual fellowship is a lifespring beyond the mortal imagination. Thank you for sharing the depth of your cares.

  16. CARMEL says:

    5 I will give to them in my house, and within my walls, a place, and a name better than sons and daughters: I will give them an everlasting name which shall never perish.

    I will give to them in my house, and within my walls,

    Who is the house of God?
    Who are God’s walls?

    The walls are the external element, which form the actual house.

    Hence the WALL is the BODY, the entire BODIES of God’s kingdom. Who else are the entire bodies of God’s kingdom if not “THE WORD” made flesh, Jesus, the Son of Man? The fact that ALL IN/ BY HIM, HE REDEEMED ALL, AND JUSTIFIED ALL IN HIS EMBODIMENT, WITH HIS DEATH ON THE CROSS, THEN HE RESURRECTED ALL ANEW IN HIMSELF, AND ASCENDED IN THE GLORY OF GOD AND FATHER OF BOTH SPIRIT AND FLESH,OF THE NEW WORLD TO COME. Isaiah 9:6 ……..God the Mighty, the Father of the world to come,………



    What is THE PLACE, and THE NAME which is attributed to the EUNUCHS, and are related also to OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST!

    THE PLACE is the title and empowerment God the Father gave to Our Lord Jesus Christ manifested in full glory, on the right hand of the Father! Clearly enough in Hebrews 1:2

    Now we come to the NAME! Simple the name is AN EVERLASTING NAME ABOVE ALL NAMES!


    But why is it better than sons and daughters. Obvious! Jesus’ embodiment THE HOUSE OF GOD. is neither male nor Female, Jesus is both male and female, androgynous!

    Thus, CURRENTLY the Eunuchs are actually the ENTIRE embodiment of God’s kingdom TO BE. Currently as humans are manifesting


    Matthew 19:12 and there are eunuchs, who have MADE THEMSELVES eunuchs for the KINGDOM OF HEAVEN. He that can take it, let him take it.

    Jesus, Mary and other disciples made themselves Eunuchs, once they were sent by the Father from heaven; They were out of the sexual reproductive world.

    John 17 :6………..Yours they were, and to me You gave them;………….


    Matthew 11:6 And blessed is he that shall not be SCANDALIZED in me.

    How could a person be OFFENDED in Jesus, the Son of man if not in His personality as a eunuch, considering the fact that He, a eunuch, proclaimed Himself Son of God!

    John 8:41…………. They said therefore to him: We are not born of fornication: we have one Father, even God.

    The above implies that the Pharisees directed this statement to Jesus, that he was born of fornication. For the Pharisees they had only ONE kind of Father, and God, and His Son should be like themselves with sexual reproductive organs.

    1 Corinthians 11:14 Doth not even nature itself teach you, that a man indeed, if he nourish his hair, it is a shame unto him?

    Jesus’ long hair was an insult for the Jews except for certain particulars like in the case of eunuchs in order to be distinguished.

    John14:30 I will not now speak many things with you. For the prince of this world cometh, and in me he hath not anything.

    Jesus in the above scripture, declared that Satan has nothing in Him, hence Jesus had nothing in Satan’s as well, which is a reference to the sinful sexual reproduction process, thus Jesus could never have children, which also applies to Mary, his mother, since Jesus’ flesh is Mary’s

    John10:25 Jesus answered them: I speak to you, and you believe not: the works that I do in the name of my Father, they give testimony of me.

    Jesus statement above simply made it clear to the Pharisees, that if they don’t believe in His personality, as a eunuch, at least they should believe in His miracles, which came from the Father. The Pharisees concluded that no matter how big Jesus’ miracles were, they simply came by the power of the devil, which gives more evidence that Jesus was a eunuch!

    1 Corinthians 1:28 And the BASE things of the world, and the things that are CONTEMPTIBLE hath God chosen, and things that ARE NOT, that he might bring to nought things that are: 29That no flesh should glory in his sight.


    Aren’t they all a clear reference to the most miserable physical personality of Jesus. Then Paul concluded and said: 29 That no flesh should glory in his sight.

    Neither man nor woman, only EUNUCHS! who are neither men nor women!

    In the above scripture 1 Corinthians 1:28 Paul accumulated all the above mentioned scriptures, in the various phrases he used and described the humiliated personal physical appearance Jesus was in! God simply made us aware that He not only sent His Son without any physical evidence that He was in the truth God’s Son, but even a miserable human manifestation, well declared in Isaiah 53:1

    WHO hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed?
    2 And he shall grow up as a tender plant before him, and as a root out of a thirsty ground: there is no beauty in him, nor comeliness: and we have seen him, and there was no sightlines, that we should be desirous of him:

    Obvious a Eunuch!

    Luke 1:34 And Mary said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?
    Mary knew that she was a type of eunuch; It was useless to know man to give birth to Jesus!

    Why should God furnish His women with sexual reproductive organs, if in the first place she would never require them never mind a man! God could have sent His son like a falling star even without a woman!

    Luke 1:45 And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord.

    Mary knew she was not in the position to have children, but she still believed in the things that shall be accomplished in her, and were spoken to her by the Lord himself. Mary must have had a revelation from God that she would be Jesus’ mother!

    One last vital detail!

    John19:26 When Jesus therefore had seen his mother and the disciple standing whom he loved, he saith to his mother: Woman, behold thy son. 27After that, he saith to the disciple: Behold thy mother. And from that hour, the disciple took her to his own.

    Here is your son! obvious BOTH WERE EUNUCHS! And both were spiritual! Mary our spiritual mother, and John the spiritual evangelist.

    Jesus couldn’t have made this statement if the apostles were also present, since they were not eunuchs!

    The disciple took her to his OWN.

    John in that moment in time became aware that Mary was a Eunuch, his OWN state!

    In those days for sure, if a Jewish woman lives with a man outside marriage, it would be considerred an act of adultery. The pharisees would stone to death both of them. Why they never did stone both Mary and John, the BELOVED, obvious beloved by Jesus, both were eunuchs.

    There are more scriptures in this regard!

  17. Francisco says:

    Thank you! 🙂

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