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Monday, September 11, 2017

A lesson from a barren tree

Did you ever stop to consider how big or how little a situation actually looks depending how close or far removed you are to it? Be up close and personal with the issue and you might see only parts and pieces of it, while missing the bigger picture. Be a little further away and you might miss the detail. At surface level, much may be appreciated, but rise a little further above the issue and you often see much, much more, but not as much as you see until you gain God's perspective on the situation!

17 We have small troubles for a while now, but these troubles are helping us gain an eternal glory. That eternal glory is much greater than our troubles. 18 So we think about what we cannot see, not what we see. What we see lasts only a short time, and what we cannot see will last forever. (2 Corinthians 4:17-18 ERV)

This summer I took a few days in the high mountains of Arizona to just enjoy time with my grand boys and a second trip to enjoy some time with my BFF. On my trip up with boys, I spotted a very old, gnarled tree that had lost all the leaves, bark, and any signs of growth. At the very top of the tree, the broken space of the highest branches became the nesting spot of a great bald eagle. High atop the tree a nest was formed from fallen branches and pieces of deep wood undergrowth. Atop the nest, an eagle stood watch over the vast expanse of the forest. It made me think about a couple of things:

1. The places we might think are the most barren and not likely to serve much of a purpose often can become the place where we find our greatest perspective. We don't often find the eagle nesting among the hidden places of the tall tree's branches like you find the nests of the sparrows or finches. In fact, the eagle finds the highest perch and is often quite exposed in where it nests, but it also have the greatest vantage point from which to watch for threats. Sometimes the barrenness doesn't seem to have produced much in us, but it may just have given us the vantage point to observe for the threats that come our way in life.

2. The most unlikely things can become the greatest blessings in our life, when we see them from God's perspective. That tree didn't seem to serve any purpose any longer for much of the wildlife in the forest. The lack of leaves and small branches didn't make it much shelter from the storms that come or the hot heat of the afternoon sun blazing down upon it. It no longer produced pine cones or seeds for the squirrels to find sustenance in. Yet, it did still have purpose - as the nesting place for the great eagle. We might have to look a little closer at what we discount in life, for it could just be what we discount as "worthless" or "barren" is really the very thing that changes our perspective in life, making us more aware of our surroundings and brings us insight we didn't possess before.

3. Lastly, the nesting spot was at the very highest point in the tree. It was as close to God as that eagle could nest - some of us need to "nest" a little closer to God - maybe it will be at the place of the least amount of "visible growth" in our lives that we come to the place of our greatest nearness to him. Just sayin!