Wednesday, June 23, 2010
The Life of a Tree
Sitting under an old maple tree, I’m enjoying the relief that the shade brings to the heat of summer. As I lean up against the trunk, I investigate the jagged, splintered, uneven crags of the bark. The brown and gray covering of the tree protects it much like skin protects humans.
Peeled bark reveals the inner workings of the tree. Moisture sipped from the roots, moves up the trunk, to the branches and then the leaves. Some trees grow tall and spread their branches out horizontally, while others shoot their fingers straight up towards the sun. Branches vary too. Some are smooth and reach upward, while others twist and tangle endlessly from the trunk. And once you follow the branches to their spindly fingering ends, you encounter endless varieties of leaves that blossom out providing shape and shade. Each tree is unique.
Trees are a lot like people. Each human is unique and each one needs to be cared for. Some people are short and stocky, while others are long and spindly. Life causes our branches to either reach out to others, or triggers us to keep them close to us.
The weather of life affects us just like it affects trees. We start out as small seedlings with smooth bark. As we grow, heat, cold, wind and rain shape who we become. If we live in moderate climates where life is good, our branches reach up and out and the leaves of our lives blossom. If we dwell in harsh climates, our bark, branches and leaves become tangled and splintered.
But no matter what climate we reside in, our bark changes as we grow older. We start out as smooth skinned babies and as we grow our skin cracks with age. Just like trees, exposure to life causes us to change. At times someone peels away our bark and causes us to be wounded, whether by words or actions. Sometimes we wound others causing their bark to scar.
But through the careful application of salve and bandages, our bark can heal and we can recover. If our wounds are left exposed, something about us withers. Either a branch dies, or our leaves wither, leaving us crippled emotionally or spiritually.
We as well as trees thrive on nourishment. That nourishment can take many forms. But for us, there is nothing better than kind words from others that help us grow. We can receive those kind words in many forms. Friends, family and even strangers can aid us in our development. And there is a secret place that provides words of encouragement. The Bible. Nothing takes the place of the supernatural nourishment of reading, reflecting and praying on the words we’ve received from the Word of God.
So if you’re feeling splintered, parched, and wilted from the heat of life, know there is healing. Sink your roots into the pages of the Bible and drink up the words of everlasting life. Dig deep into the comforting words of our God and find the healing your heart desires. Then turn your leaves toward the Son and soak up the healing love he has to offer.