A neighbor and I would start our days with an early morning walk around the streets of our neighborhood. Along our way there was a tree that I enjoyed walking past especially in the spring because of its sweet fragrance.
One winter morning following an ice storm we found the tree completely bent over. I was sure the tree would no longer live to send forth its sweet fragrance. The coming spring brought no sign of life. The tree remained bent, broken, and brown for the entire year. Walking past this tree I wondered why the owner didn’t cut it down. But there was more to the tree than what could be seen on the surface. The roots of the tree weren’t damaged. Those roots continued to draw up water and nutrients into the bent and broken trunk and branches.
The following spring new growth appeared. There were so many branches coming from that bent and broken trunk. What seemed dead and hopeless sprang to new life, healthier and fuller than the original tree. Once more it sent forth its sweet fragrance.
The story of this tree reminds me of the Redeeming Love of God.
Ice storms come into our lives in a variety of circumstances. They cause damage, damage that looks as though the situation is dead and hopeless. It’s during that time we can respond in different ways. We can look at the dead and hopeless situation and give up on it, we can cut it down and remove it from our life, or we can wait on God to bring redemption and new life into it. I’m so glad the owner didn’t give up on the tree. It grew to be a beautiful, sweet smelling tree that is a constant reminder that…
what the enemy meant for harm, God intended for the good!
“May your roots go down deep into the soil of God’s marvelous Love;” Ephesians 3:17
There was another tree long ago that held a lesson…
The Greatest Story ever told!
There was a tree upon which the beaten and broken body of Jesus was crucified.
“But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.” Isaiah 53:5
It was upon that tree the Perfect Lamb of God shed His blood for the forgiveness of the sin of all mankind.
“We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are. For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.” Romans 3:22-25
It was upon that tree where Jesus cried out, “It is finished!”
“You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for he forgave all our sins. He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14
That tree of long ago, known today as the Cross, is a constant reminder the no matter what “ice storm” has bent, broken, or left you hopeless, there is no damage that cannot be restored by the Redeeming Love of God.
And as the tree in my neighborhood, God intends for your life to be rooted in Him so that no matter what “ice storm” comes into your life God will work all things together for good…
so that your life will be fuller,
your faith will be made stronger,
and you will give off have the sweet fragrance of Jesus to those around you!
May you remember the Tree this Good Friday and embrace the Redeeming Love of God that He demonstrated towards you…
“When we were utterly helpless, Christ came at just the right time and died for us sinners. Now, most people would not be willing to die for an upright person, though someone might perhaps be willing to die for a person who is especially good. But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation. For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God.” Romans 5:6-11
Picture: Jamie Gillem, Passion Play 2012