At the beginning of this year, a friend from church invited some ladies to her cabin for a “quiet” day to seek the Lord. I’ve been to the cabin before. It is beautiful and situated on the river between Georgia and Tennessee. This particular day it was cold, gray and windy so most of us spent the day curled up in a comfy chair – and I chose one next to the window with a view. I ventured outside for a few minutes and decided, beautiful or not, I was going back inside.
From my warm, comfortable perch I could see lots of trees. There were a few pines, but most of the trees had lost their leaves. Each tree was similar, but oh, so different. The main shape of the trees was symmetrical, as the branches equally reached for the sun – unless of course something was in the way. I’ve noticed this pattern everywhere, like when taking road trips. Most trees grow evenly in all directions unless something more powerful changes that. I’ve seen trees surgically cut into odd shapes around power lines by tree trimmers. Sometimes a tree is damaged, or forced to grow in a sideways direction by the wind. But normally, left to themselves, they grow pretty much evenly all the way around.
When covered with leaves, trees of the same kind look similar to each other. But take away the leaves, and the intricate differences are visible. Not all have the same number and shape of main branches, let alone all the little sub-branches… and twigs. Each is unique, and beautiful.
In Mark 8 we learn about Jesus healing a blind man.
22 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him.
23 He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
24 He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
25 Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. (NIV)
Now I’ve heard this taught – for years – that even Jesus sometimes had to pray twice for someone to be healed. Really!?! Recently, I heard Pastor Robert Morris from Gateway Church in Texas talk about this. He said it is not that Jesus had to pray twice. Jesus just healed the man’s spiritual blindness before He healed the man’s physical blindness!
He saw men as trees walking!
Aren’t people like trees? On the outside, with all their leaves covering them, they look all pretty much the same. Oh, there are different varieties, but, barring some outside force, maple trees look like maple trees, oak trees look like oak trees, etc. Until the leaves come off. Then we see the subtle differences. One tree may have had a branch break off – or cut off – so the growth forks off in other directions, or is missing entirely. Even trees growing right next to each other are different and unique. People are the same way.
When we are “covered,” we look similar – head, shoulders, knees and toes, as the song goes. We see ourselves with all our broken spots and twisty spots, but everyone else is “covered.” They look “normal.” But every person has broken spots and twisty spots. That is part of their unique-ness.
Now, it is important to let down our “cover” at times in our dealings with others. This is especially true in our relationship with God. He sees us as we are, and loves us as we are. We don’t have to “cover” ourselves, like Adam and Eve tried to in the garden. We can be who we are … upset, angry, fearful, doubting, whatever. Give your “whatever” to Him and let Him give you an “instead.” Isaiah 61 talks about “insteads.”
He (God) has sent me (Jesus) to … provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. (NIV)
While enjoying this beauty – and the quiet – I read Psalm 1.
1 Blessed is the one who does not walk in step with the wicked or stand in the way that sinners take or sit in the company of mockers,
2 but whose delight is in the law of the LORD, and who meditates on his law day and night.
3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither— whatever they do prospers. (NIV)
Verse 3 says “whose leaf does not wither.” When we are planted by the streams of water, sinking our roots deep into the Living Water, our leaves will not wither. We will never be “winter” trees… “naked” trees. And we will bear fruit in season. I don’t think that means we’ll bear apples in the fall and be done until the next fall. In each season of our life, we can bear fruit. When I was younger, I bore the fruit of 4 beautiful children. I bore the fruit of a loving marriage with my husband. That time is over. But I’m not done bearing fruit. Now I have spiritual children. Now I minister to women of all different ages. And who knows where or to whom God will send me next? It is just the fruit for this season!
You are the Master Gardener.
You know Your trees.
Thank you for planting us where
We can grow and bear much fruit,
In each and every season.
Thank you that You water us
With Living Water
So we will never thirst again.
Please open our eyes to
See men like trees walking.