"For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver."(Martin Luther) I have some trees in my yard that shed their leaves every fall as the weather begins to change enough to let them know winter is fast approaching. There are other trees in the yard that do not ever lose their "green" appearance because they shed leaves all year, little by little, as they are no longer vital to the tree and new ones come in their place. There is much to be said about both processes, so let's consider just a few things this morning:
1. The tree that sheds all its leaves is left bare and exposed, allowing all the scars of growth and pruning to be visible. I once heard it said we should rejoice when we see our scars for they really are signs that once a wound was there, but now we have healed from that wound. The exposed branches make that tree look a little vulnerable, but in essence we are seeing the parts that remain hidden, but which give structure and strength to support all the growth of those leaves once they return!
2. The tree that keeps its leaves all year might be beautiful and provide much shelter for those birds that weather the storms of winter in our midst. Perhaps this is why God created some trees that retain their leaves - to provide shelter and protection for those who need a welcoming place to rest. They also provide just a little bit of beauty in what might otherwise resemble a barren place and a hard time to endure.
3. The tree with those year-round leaves has learned to shed what isn't any longer growing, allowing those dead leaves gently detach and fall to the ground. Even in the death of one leaf, much life is possible. The new leaf comes behind, but the old one provides a new place of shelter and protection, not for the birds on high, but for the tiny creatures that keep our soil rich and aerated by their presence. Even the cast off has a purpose - never lose sight of this, my friends. No part of our lives is ever wasted - even those parts we see as no longer necessary carry a purpose!
Just a few thoughts this morning to get us thinking. We may want to be an "evergreen" tree, never showing signs of winter's presence, or bearing the evidence of those scars of our "pruning", but there is beauty there, my friends. We should never be fearful of exposure, for those scars show where God's hand has healed and where his guidance has "pruned" what wasn't helping us grow in the right direction. Just sayin!