For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8
One of the things I love most about my daily walks is the lessons I learn simply through observing Nature as it moves through the various seasons of its life. I was almost home this morning, when this tree caught my attention. At first glance, it’s hard to see anything about it that would have made it stand out to me. That’s the thing about lessons – they often don’t stand out to us at first glance. It’s not until later than what we’re supposed to learn becomes clear to us.
At First Glance
As I looked at this tree, I couldn’t help but think about how often I’ve felt like it looks – standing bare before the world to see, my beauty hidden from the eyes that looked upon me, with nothing to offer – cold and alone, as though Life had stolen my hope from me. Yeah – at first glance, I was reminded of how hard the seasons of life can be, especially when we’re standing in the middle of winter, maybe unable to see anything beautiful ahead of us.
But here’s what I see when I look at this small, barren tree: in this seemingly lifeless season of winter, it doesn’t lean towards the ground in defeat as if all hope is gone. Instead, it stands tall, with its branches reaching up towards the heavens as if it knows that this, too, shall pass. While its beauty is hidden from the world, life still flows inside of its roots, just waiting for the warmth of Spring’s first days to touch it gently. It seems to be waiting patiently for the light to touch its roots and send that life streaming through its bare branches once again. It’s subtle at first – a few buds will appear and might even go unnoticed. But then one day, almost overnight, those buds will open and new leaves will appear, decorating those stark limbs with bright shades of green.
What’s the Lesson?
Pastor Rick Warren put it this way in one of his sermons: “In God’s garden of Grace, even broken trees bear fruit.” What God does for this tree, He can and will do for us if we let Him – but that’s the key – we have to let Him. He gives us what we need to stand strong in the winds and storms of Life’s seasons, and, even when we feel as if we’ve been stripped of all that we have inside of us, He will still be there to bring us out of the valley and give us new life. It’s easy to believe when everything’s going well – when we’re standing on the mountaintop. But it’s in those valleys that we learn to trust God and the lessons He has for us there.
I can’t wait to watch this little tree fill with leaves again as God speaks life over it as this winter season passes by! But as I wait, I will try not to miss what it is that God is trying to teach me through His Creation. I will try to keep my eyes and arms lifted high towards the heavens when the storms rage around me, believing in my heart, mind, and soul that God will carry me through it all until the day He calls me home.
Do you see God around you in Nature or have a favorite Scripture verse you’d like to share with us? Please feel free to do so in the “Leave Comment” section. I’d love to hear from you!
Warren, Rick. Facebook. Facebook.com. 24 September 2014. https://www.facebook.com/pastorrickwarren/photos/in-gods-garden-of-grace-even-a-broken-tree-can-bear-fruit-and-we-are-all-broken-/10154407444715903/ Accessed 14 February 2022.