I am constantly in awe of trees. They are stunning. The seasons come and go and there they stand and grow despite all the turmoils thrown at them. The sunset was just nearly gone by the time I reached my camera today so here is a picture I took from a walk up beacon fell. The green forest is alive.
Be strong, and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait for the Lord!
Waiting for the Lord is important. We having passing needs that concern us each day. When I was younger I would pray like a shopping list, and I still catch myself doing this somedays. We live for the moment and are concerned with the moment; Let me get through this test, let me just get home, let me succeed at this next bit.
Is God concerned with the immediate moment?
Well Psalm 31 tells us that we should take courage for we are to wait for the Lord, wait for His answer. When we pray to God to help in a situation, we have to be prepared for His answer, not ours. What I would want mostly is not precisely what God wants, because I have a human mind and body getting in the way of this vision and perception of God. When we ask, we should be prepared to wait. I have found, and it would be great to hear from others who might have found this, that when I have asked for God’s help in a situation, that it takes time for this situation to be resolved – and not resolved in a way that could of come across naturally without God.
Trees were around before us humans. They were planted by God for a purpose.
And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.
I think the people of Africa probably appreciate trees more than we do in Britain. For us living in comfort trees might be somewhere we go walking on a drizzly day or they may be something we decorate the garden with, or even we may have a fruit tree so we can make the odd pie or crumble.
To the African people the trees are life and death. They provide shade from the sun to protect them, they provide water to quench their thirst, they provide a community meeting point in a barren land and many other uses. The baobab picture here I took many years ago in Kenya and it shows it’s age. There are markings on the bark of past people and it is an imposing figure on the road.
The animals and wildlife rely on these trees as their only source of relief from the son. Birds nests and insects hide within their branches. When I have spent time with a tree I have almost glimpsed a character from the tree, a personality, glanced it’s past pains.
But this is just conjecture. Looking to the bible, trees seemed to be valued beyond any metal. They were used in the construction of the many versions of temples and grand halls. They were protected by invading armies. Abraham created a grove of trees to worship in. The ark of Noah was made from many huge trees. We survive with trees, but they survive apart from us. But above all we were given this earth to be stewards of, and we are meant to care for these great creations that God has given us.
Perhaps we can also take something from the trees that as we watch them grow we can work on our relationship with Jesus, being guided by the Holy Spirit. As the leaves bloom we can think of how our gifts from God are growing, and when the fruits appear we can reflect on how much our gifts have grown and are being used by God in His plan for the Kingdom and the return of Jesus Christ to heal this groaning world in birth pangs.
I pray tonight that we wait for God’s answer and that we wait in respect and fear that we shall have the courage to follow through with what God has called us to do.
Lord give us all courage to walk forward listening for your answer and calling out your name to guide and save us from this momentary life, leading us onto an eternal life with you our Saviour.