Why do I love old trees?
A number of years ago I started walking my neighborhood in St. Charles, MO. During these walks I began to notice the trees. I am still struck today by looking at trees in the winter when the leaves are gone, and I see only the trunk and branches. To me it is the spiritual skeleton of the tree. It is stripped bare to see what it has endured.
Branches jut out in different directions and they are bent. The bending comes over time from wind and storms. It reminds me of life. The wind and storms in our life bend us. Sometimes it weakens us—sometimes it helps us be stronger. Nonetheless, it develops who we become, what we look like (in an spiritual sense). Not being perfect just tells me that life has happened. Every year the tree loses its leaves, and the tree gets new leaves—an opportunity for new life.
It is a sign of hope. A sign of resurrection.
“Therefore if anyone be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17
I wrote about trees the winter of 2011-2012. The exact time I am not sure. I was emailing a friend who was struggling with something of which today I do not remember. I took my walk and saw the trees barren of leaves. I came home and these words came to me. In April of 2012, I shared it on my Facebook page. I did not realize that I was going to be facing some real challenges in my life that year. A month later, my sister was diagnosed with cancer, and she was gone three months later. I had real job challenges that did not turn out the way I would have liked, and I was just that barren tree.
But, as always happens, God lets that tree resurface with new leaves and new life, and that is just what happened. I would like never to feel the pain and the cold that I felt in 2012, but new life happened, and I felt God’s grace once again.
The encouraging thing is that even though the tree looks bent and harsh in the winter, when it receives it’s leaves again, it has a beauty and radiance about it. It is like when we are clothed in righteousness from Christ. Even though we may be broken, God clothes us in righteousness, and we are beautiful to God!
We do get through the struggles. We are beautiful again!
Here is what I wrote:
“I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For he has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of his righteousness . . .” Isaiah 61:10