Early morning, the town awakens, the best time for thoughts. With coffee mug in hand, I observe the bare trees I see outside my kitchen window and realize how trees are so very much like people.
I see a young sapling, so thin and vulnerable, supported by ties and stakes in the ground, just planted last spring. Fresh, hopeful, reaching for the sky, so many years ahead, oblivious to future storms, droughts, bends and breaks. This spring when new shoots and leaves appear, it will be brash and boastful.
Another tree having gone through a few seasons; supports now removed, stronger, taller, limbs of more circumference. Confident, having some knowledge and experience, full of ego, superior to the younger ones.
Ten years along, that tree strong, tall, producing fruit, shade, contributing, honored, useful, enjoyed. Having seen a few storms, having lost a limb or two, yet surviving and thriving, its wounds healed over, leaving slight scars.
Twenty-five, thirty seasons… dependable, firmly rooted, weathers storms and lives to tell about them. Perhaps it has suffered unwanted pruning, yet it grows new shoots and perseveres. Still useful, still beautiful.
Fifty years along and we look upon it fondly. Missing limbs, obvious scars, tough layers of bark, a veteran of dry years, lean years, showing evidence of care or neglect.
Sixty and beyond… a landmark, a fixture, others look up to it. Mature, wise, majestic and revered. A warrior, a soldier, a survivor. Stories to tell of sorrow, sunshine, strength and perseverance, a sheltering presence.
Some trees never make it past a sapling. Some are not pruned, but allowed to grow whichever way they want. Some have sprung up in unlikely places and are deemed undesirable. Some have been cut down in the prime of life. Some have been selected and planted on purpose, cared for, treasured. Some have been abused and have the scars to prove it. Some are found to be too old to be of any use and they are cast aside.
How trees are so like people… but no matter what sort of tree you or I may be, we can never be more than what our roots are. Shallow roots, or deep, firmly planted roots that have been watered and fed. Shallow roots in the Word of God, allowing us to bend, sway, and possibly break, or deep, sustaining roots reaching and branching out, holding fast and strong. Winds and storms may come, we stand fast and firm. I, for one, need deeper roots.*
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, and whose trust is in the Lord. For he will be like a tree planted by the water, that extends its roots by a stream and will not fear when the heat comes; but its leaves will be green, and it will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit.” Jeremiah 17: 7,8.
*You ask, “all this revelation before 8 AM?” Yes!