Monday, February 8, 2010


Our perception at times is so oblivious to the obvious! Consider the one who is so overwhelmed by the whole “forest” of people and circumstances that surround him, that he cannot see just one individual “tree” that may have special unnoticed character or need.

In the year since we moved to our present home, surrounded by trees, I have been drawn to one particular one, season in and season out, and it striking at its composure amid all of the swirling world of leaves and conditions that surround its vigil on the edge of our property. Last year’s ice built up so on its branches, that one large one broke and was suspended, seemingly holding on for whatever life source could reach through the remaining wood fibers which held it. Not having the means or time to cut it loose, I let it alone. During one night’s wind a few months later, I looked and saw that it had finally let go and lay at the base, beginning the long process of decay. The tree lived on, continuing to stand strong, in spite of its loss.

Now, with another winter storm upon us, I continue to watch its silent vigil as the snow heavily builds upon its branches. It speaks a message to my heart out of its very stable character, now covered with what might be a “mantle from heaven” sent to acknowledge its faithful service through all the adversities that the world has thrown at it.

I recall reading from a devotion book by Mrs. Charles Cowman years ago, and found a kind of prayer liturgy I wrote as a result. Trees. Such a strong testament of creation’s strength and endurance, shelters for those seeking such a place of retreat from sun’s heat and the storm’s pelting rain. Strong and stable through years of silent growth, they stand against the strong winds which only serve to push them to the limits of their rooted footholds in the earth. Such winds do not destroy, but only serve to open cracks in the earth through which the water bearing nutrients may nourish the tree’s continuing life. So let me be like the tree, Father. Allow the winds of adversity to blow against me, for I do know Your sustaining hand of protection that keeps me from being uprooted and destroyed. You know how much I may endure without breaking. You alone know how much is needed to loosen my rooted faith to receive fresh new waters of truth, that bear the true food to make me strong in You. So, blow ye winds. God is in control, and allows such for my good. Oh Father, help me grow so today, and may my branches reach out and up in praise to You alone, and may they be filled with the kingdom fruit borne out of Your abiding presence, and my abiding response to and in You. Oh, Father, trees. Help me to see them and be reminded daily of Your great purpose and plan for me. Thank You, Lord, for the truth borne in the trees.

And today as I reflect on such imagines again, I am struck with the fact that God gives His blessed affirmation by His Holy Spirit that wraps us in heaven’s snow white mantle of peace. “Come to me and I will give you rest” indeed.

Two scriptures have some added thoughts to communicate about trees.
“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Lord is. For he shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heart cometh, but he leaf shall be green: and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8

“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night. And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” Psalm 3:1-3



Ray Edwards said...

Jim, Very, very good. I too wish that to be my prayer. I have yet to observe a truly "spiritual" soul who has not endured several harsh circumstances that come to us in this life; and yet have made them better, not bitter. Indeed they stand out from the forest of others who have yet to understand the ways God uses to make us stronger.

Broco Ray

Jo said...

Good words, Bro, good words!
Trees do have to withstand a lot of suffering at times, and now and again, they lose limbs or topple under pressure. But, often they are born again, by having seedlings grow from the roots. Kind of like humans. We can withstand a lot, but too often can "break" under pressure. Our "roots" can be born again too, as long as we look UP, as the trees do.


Mich said...