Sunday, March 13, 2016

The Tree of Life

Since I’ve retired, I start most mornings sitting in my living room, sipping coffee, taking in the peacefulness of the day. It’s a refuge of sorts, where I can relax and let my mind wander.

On one particular day, recently, I became fixated by an old cherry tree, which sits outside my living room’s picture window. I thought about how it had survived the many intense storms and diseases over the years, and how, because of its deep roots and my husband’s intervention, it still stands healthy and strong (at its core).

Right now—during the winter months—the cherry tree doesn’t have the lush greenery hiding its imperfections, leaving us with a lifeless and barren impression. Yet, there’s still a mysterious beauty about it, because in reality, it may be leafless, but it isn't lifeless. It’s patiently waiting for spring, so it can burst forth into bloom again. 

It reminds me of times when I felt spiritually dormant, when I felt weighed down by the burden of an imperfect world.

Before I accepted the redemptive nature of God’s grace, there was hollowness in my spirit. I had built up so much inner turmoil, from a barrage of unexpected circumstances, my spirit was, basically, on life support. I felt unworthy, unloved, and far away from God.

But looking back over my life, I can see where God's hand of intervention not only had reached in to help endure the brokenness, but also the times where His pruning had helped shed the lifeless things to give energy to the new. And although I still fall dormant from time to time, my faith doesn’t allow me to linger there.

If we live long enough, we will all pass through wintery, barren seasons. And some will be much harsher than others. Perhaps you are passing through one of those seasons right now. If so, please don’t lose hope. Keep your roots deeply planted in the soil of God’s love. And even though you may be forever changed by this season you find yourself in, there will come a time of blooming again. You will survive this storm that life has blown your way, bringing with it the restoration of new life and new hope. Because—even in incidences where the darkness has masked the comprehension of His presence—God will never forsake us.

With Easter comes the onset of spring. It’s a season of new life, both spiritually and in nature.

The cherry tree analogy shows us the awakening of a tree, of how, each spring, it goes from a barren season of fruitlessness into a blooming and fruit-bearing one. It’s a beautiful transformation shown to us by God, through nature, that even though the tree was leafless; it wasn’t lifeless.

For us as believers, Easter is a time where we enter into the season of Lent. It's a time where we are reminded that Christ transformed the cross, from a symbol of death into the tree of life, and through His transformation, we celebrate an awakening of the soul; a time of reassurance that, upon His return, there will be a season of continuous blooming.

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