This past winter I spent a number of days in the early morning among the trees near our home. Almost everyday (you’ll think me mad) in my head I had a conversation among the trees. In the gospel of Mark 8:24-25 And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.
Trees, Forests, Meadows line the landscape of scripture and our lives. From Eden’s Garden to Jerusalem’s celestial city. Let’s take a moment and identify some of the trees of scripture…Zacheaus climbed up in a tree, Noah built an ark out of wood, Absalom died hanging in a tree, Nathaniel was under the fig tree, Elijah rested under a broom tree, Cedars of Lebanon built the temple and palace, the righteous are like a tree planted by waters, olive trees of Gethsemane bring forth the oil for anointing, a root out of the stump of Jesse will bring forth the promised seed, the pomegranate tree offered the fruit for the priests robe, John said the ax was laid at the root of the tree, pagans worshiped and built altars under trees, the prophet decreed that the trees of the field clapped their hands in praise and adoration, Jesus cursed the fig tree, Jesus was cursed upon a tree.
I spent a few days meditating among the trees and I discovered Men like Trees.
If you have ever traveled to various parts of the country you will quickly recount how much landscaping, but especially trees have a profound influence on you. They can be very significant in lending you a hopeful outlook, simply because of their ability to generate a new perspective or surrounding. Allow me to use a few settings from just around the country and if you have traveled there you will certainly be able to relate.
I lived most of my life in the Midwest among great herds of trees, poplar, oak, maple, etc. The landscape of rolling prairies and residential housing is covered by a plethora of huge shade trees and the effects of such enormous greenery is wonderful. My first trip to Florida, California (and someday Hawaii) was overwhelmingly tranquil. The high arching, swaying motion of the palms caused my eyes and my heart to be lifted up. It was breathtaking. My numerous times in the Rockies has brought such majesty not simply because of the enormity of the mountains, but the density of the coverage of the evergreen and pine. Wandering around in there can become a maze to be lost in and an amazement to be lost in. Then in the early fall when the Aspen trees begin to illuminate the meadows and the roadways through the Rockies it is dazzling. How about the Redwoods of Northern California, the august Autumn of up-state New York?
As I was meditating among the trees here is what I heard them say….
Do you still like me even when my branches are bare? My branch has fallen to the ground and I no longer know the pleasure of blowing in the breeze am I still valuable? Why did God make me this way? Why is he tall and I’ve been cut down to a stump? Why am I just a log people sit on, but children climb in her branches? Why can’t I bear fruit instead of needles? What is it about me that takes me until spring to lose my dead leaves? Why did I have to suffer through a long drought and she lives in a rain forest? Where are my acorns, walnuts, and whirlybirds? What value are these terrible thorns protruding from my branches? Why was I the only tree trunk that was hit by lightning? When will I grow up and be free from these stakes in the ground? Why do I have all these leaves if no one ever comes to sit under my shade? Why is it that I envy the palm, oak, willow, pine, aspen, maple, flowering, sequoia, red wood, cherry, birch, apple, and peach trees? Will I ever just like being me? They say I look this way because I have character.
What is my purpose? Am I going to be… a chair, cupboard, boat, firewood, paper for a school assignment or letterhead for the President, a tree for climbing or carved initials of romance, a white picket fence, Christmas tree, cross in a church, a cabin in the mountains, a door, guitar, barn, a musical pipe, a smoking pipe, a Louisville slugger, pine tar or maple syrup, communion table, soap box derby car, drum sticks, telephone polls, grand piano, whittled away into a souvenir in a gift shop, or will I just die a tree and no one ever noticed me?
We pass by people like trees in a forest. I hope you can see clearly now that you and others are Men like Trees.
PS…Hug a Tree!