I was driving to pick my daughter up from preschool today & looked up at the bare trees on our street. I thought of them as tree skeletons, and then thought of how beautiful they will look in the spring, all in bloom. I look forward to that, and I began to consider how a tree would feel if it could.
Would it ache at the fall of each leaf? Would it grieve the seasons that stripped it bare and completely exposed to the elements? Then this verse came to mind:
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD. He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when heat comes, for its leaves remain green, and is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8
In my first thoughts of this, I could only see loss. The tree knows better. Just like us, the tree faces change and different seasons. It can always count on having to face the seasons, whatever weather they bring. Be it adorned in beautiful spring blossoms or fall leaves, or left bare, it does not depend on superficial, surface things to hold it up and in its place. The tree knows something I forgot; the roots matter much more than what the world can see on its branches. The health of the tree isn’t in what we can see on the surface. The health of the tree is in how far it has sunk its roots into what sustains and gives it life.
What if I were like this tree? What if I didn’t let the temporary, surface things be my focus? There are so many things on the surface that distract us from paying attention to Who our sustainer is. It can be stress about money, running errands, social media, sin we willfully indulge in, or a million other things. All those things are temporary. What the world sees that we keep at the surface is always changing. That is not eternity. The depth of our roots speak to what we consider eternally valuable.
What if I didn’t grieve in letting go like the tree? What if I really trusted that God would be there season after season to be my sufficiency?
“And he said, ‘Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return. The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.'” Job 1:21
Would I joyfully receive God removing everything on the surface in order to be more deeply rooted Him? Could I really say blessed be the name of the Lord no matter what? Would I welcome Him taking away beautiful blessings as much as I rejoice in receiving them?
I do not have all the answers, but I do know that today I noticed something I have driven passed a thousand times and never considered. Today God whispered into my heart something new to consider in how I walk with Him.
I do not know it all, but I do know that I need to pay more attention to what I am allowing my focus to be. It can’t be on temporary worries. It can’t be on things that can be changed by a gust of wind.
I pray for the discipline to be more like the tree who God restores and provides for, no matter the elements. He tells the wind where to blow and if I’m exposed to the elements or covered in beautiful blossoms, I can trust in Him.
I can trust Him & I can know that He knows my roots and my heart, and no matter what the surface looks like or the value the world places on the appearance of things, what He says & what He calls me to is much more valuable.
I pray green leaves that never wither and the ability to fix my eyes on Him, despite any drought or circumstance.