Sunday, May 15, 2011
Someone once told me I was "like a tree." She did not elaborate, but I knew the reference was from Psalm 1:3 which states, "He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper."
I've thought a lot about trees. I guess I'm somewhat of a "tree hugger." I love God's creation, and I love the beauty and benefits we receive from what God has made, including trees. I'm fascinated by deciduous trees that show their budding growth and flower in spring, come to full deep green in summer, and are set ablaze with color in the autumn before losing those leaves and sleeping through the winter. I love watching the squirrels run up and down tree trunks, leap dangerously from branch to branch without a second thought, and run around and around and up and down the trunks again. Then there are the birds that nest, raise their young, and take refuge in the trees. I could and have watched them for hours.
If I were to describe my "tree-likeness" I would consider the things I have endured that came like storms in my life. Clouds come and overtake the clear blue sky. The world around grows dark in the middle of the day, and the wind begins to blow. Every leaf quivers at the imminent storm until many are blown from the branches. The storm is brutal. Unrelenting. Long and sustained far beyond its welcome. Rain falls sideways and pelts the ground and hail beats down upon the tree. Yet the tree stands firmly where it's planted. The branches, although they bend and bow, bounce back to reach toward the sky like arms that praise their Maker, and the roots continue to go down deep holding the tree in its position. When the clouds finally move off, they reveal the sun which has never stopped sending its light and warmth to the earth, even as the storm raged. The tree may be pruned of leaves and branches but it is still standing firm. Its arms raised to the sun, it welcomes the life-giving nutrients the sun sends to strengthen every fiber of the tree. The perseverant tree is now in a position to bear fruit and be a life-giver to others.
Although I have faltered in many things, God has sustained me through trials that came to move me from my position of faith. In storms that blew and pelted my life until I didn't think I had the strength to stand, somehow my roots were deep and held me fast. Although there were times I felt completely abandoned and alone, I never waivered in my trust in the One who loves me. He never left nor forsook me, and He was my Rock, my Fortress and my Deliverer. When everything I knew was shaken, I cried out to Him and He heard my voice from His temple. My God delivered me, and kept my feet from slipping. (Psalm 18)
To whom much is given, much is required. He caused me to remain so that I may be in a position to be a life-giver to others. The fruit that God has given to me, I have been given so that others may be strengthened. For a tree does not eat of its own fruit but gives it away!
We've all been through storms, and because you're reading this, I know you're either weathering a storm today or have recently faced the wind and rain. Yet there you are...standing firm, deeply rooted, crying out to the One who will answer and continues to give you what you need to get through! GO YOU!
And storms will come and storms will go. But the sun will continue to send warmth and light to the earth and the Lord God will always be a sun and a shield giving grace and glory. Those who persevere through the storms will reap the reward of blessing and growth, for the Lord will withhold no good thing for those who are deeply rooted and upright in His sight. But remember, the fruit you bear is for someone else's nourishment and pleasure!
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the LORD shall flourish in the courts of our God. They shall still bear fruit in old age; they shall be fresh and flourishing,
to declare that the LORD is upright; He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him. Psalm 92:12-16.