An old gnarly tree, stopping to look, casting off our shell, and experiencing beauty.
The Word Becomes Flesh
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
I dreamed about driving through a wonderful countryside and there was this old gnarly tree. I stopped the car to look at this tree, it was old but it was beautiful.
I watched a programme the other night about pensioners and how they were trying to live out their retirement. They were in an American village where there was many very well to do people. They seemed to be suggesting that to stay young all you have to do is have beauty treatment. I found they didn’t look natural and this was completely false. I think beauty is in young and old and not just outer beauty, but with all these wrinkles comes a story – just like this tree in my dream had a story to tell. The wrinkles tell us the details of our life, the highs, the lows, the days we have been full of joy and the days we have been to the ends of our despair, and the days that God has been there and lifted us up when we have been on our last ember of hope.
God is saying that to be old is to be beautiful, you have the details of your life etched onto your face, your story. There is more wisdom there gained through your experience of life. More than a child, but sometimes a child is more accepting of wisdom than we are.
The message from the tree is clear. To be old is beautiful as the tree tells a story, your stories are amazing, they are full of you. The story of my life is still being told, but God is there and has been there even when I didn’t think he cared.
He has been there when I was cursing him, He has been there when I was making fun of him, He has been there when I was mocking him. I asked him how he could forgive me as I was such a two faced person and he said simply he was my father. Only by understanding God as a father, as a parent can we understand total love.
He didn’t give me botox in my face or make me any younger but he made the etches in my face tell a story and suddenly they all made sense, why these things had happened. He put up with so much from me, and he still does and what do I give in return, only myself and that is his anyway so in effect I can give him nothing but humbly try to follow.
I only saw the tree but I encountered beauty, and I had to stop and look and by that act of stopping and looking I saw a far more beautiful thing and that is the lake. In our lives we are too busy, we fill our lives with clubs and social media and games and not actually seek the LORD. If you say, “Oh I’ve never had an experience with God, or I’ve never had healing, or I’ve never had any moments of ecstasy in pure worship or prayer”, then I would say have you truly ever stopped in your life and knelt down on your knees and said to God, “God i’m here” and have you waited and waited in submission to what He might say. I am sure that if you truly truly commit yourself to God that he will answer you and come into your life challenging you at every point to be his representative on Earth.
That is not to say I feel God’s presence every time I pray, because I don’t, somedays I just pray and wonder, is it me, why hasn’t God made himself known – as if we can command the coming and goings of the creator of the universe. But did I truly stop, cast my worries and concerns over to God, cast away our anger and try to worship him without my agenda.
God’s glory is revealed to us through the tree.
Through the silhouette of the tree, reminiscent perhaps of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the old gnarly tree in the garden of Eden. The tree wasn’t evil, it just gave us the knowledge of good and evil – we set ourselves apart from God and handed the earth and it’s command over to the devil. We can see how this decision to learn good and evil ourselves apart from God has led to many evil acts and wars. Clearly we see that this world is a fallen world.
But the tree is also reminiscent of the tree at calvary, It tells the story of God’s unending love. His sacrifice of His Son to atone for our sins. They are paid for so look past the tree and what do you see?
Past the tree is amazing beauty, a lake of God’s grace, the tears that Jesus shed for us. I feel this life is like a preparation for the final act, for what we are about to meet. But we can also bring about God’s kingdom now. If we truly believe that the next life is eternal, and this life is temporary, then why are we not taking God at His Word? Why are we not serious about following the commands of Jesus. We are here to be conduits of God’s grace and to unleash God’s love onto the world. When people start to blame God for all the deaths and evil things that have happened in the world they harden their hearts but forget that perhaps God wants them to make a difference.
As a child I used to turn up to church every Sunday, listen to the message and then go home – Is that our faith or religion?
Religion is about rules and doctrine.
Faith is about love and faith, about how we should live our life giving out grace to all we meet so that we can shine for God.
It is great to talk about faith on the internet but after I write God puts me to task. I have to go out there and try to live the life God wants me to do and that can be hard and it can be full of failures some days, and to be honest that is why I don’t write too often – It is between me and God. But I do realise I have to encourage others.
Your life if you follow Jesus is not going to be just sitting in the cruise lane, it’s going to be full of ups and downs but we have the Holy Spirit given to us by Jesus to give us hope and power. The power to heal, the power to give words of encouragement, the power to change culture.
Jesus calls you to love, and always be ready to give an account of our faith.
In order to experience God we have to STOP and LOOK, we have to get out of our containers to EXPERIENCE the surroundings (not social media).
We have to be free of the things that contain us in life and the devil likes to remind us of our sins, but Jesus has already dealt with your sins once, so there is no need to worry, we have Jesus.
My journey these last months has been exciting and there are many testimonies I could give but they will have to wait for another time.
Praise to God for his sacrifice for us and the grace that is waiting to be poured out onto this earth through us. Amen