Trees. It’s fall in Indiana and the trees are beautiful. Ever since we arrived from Southern California a week ago, we have been admiring the amazing array of colors that adorn the trees here.
“Wow! Look at how red that one is!”
“That one is a mix of gold and orange!”
“Look at that grove – it’s magnificent!”
Where we come from in Southern California we don’t have near the display of fall colors, nor the number of trees, that they have here in Northern Indiana, so we have been busy taking pictures to capture the beauty.
This morning I was captivated by one very tall, robust tree that sits in full view outside the sliding glass door where I am drinking my coffee. The sun is rising from behind the tree, extremely bright and powerful. The only thing between me and the power of the sun is the tree – it’s leaves acting as a filigree barrier. The sun, in all its glory, filters through the barrier creating long beams of light that shine on the frost covered grass. It’s beautiful. Pictures can’t capture the moment – I wish you were here to see it yourself.
I was mesmerized by the scene in front of me. Maybe my fascination is peaked because I am re-reading the letters of Brother Lawrence, a Carmelite monk who lived in the 17th century. Brother Lawrence shares his conversion story that came about as the result of a tree. A barren, leafless tree of winter that would soon be renewed with new life and fruit revealed to Brother Lawrence the providence and power of God. Yes, it’s true, God uses His creation to speak to us in many ways. This morning, my view of the tree spoke to me in a different way.
I wondered about the barrier of the leaves. Their thickness all but blocking out the brightness and power of the sun, and how incredible those beams of light were that were able to break through the barrier. I saw myself in the tree. My arms, long branches, laden with leaves, the cares and worries of this world. Branches, too many to count, covered with leaves of sin – hurtful words, unkind thoughts, overlooked needs – all weighing me down. I saw myself blocking out the light of the sun. It hurt my spirit to think of myself this way and I wanted to shake off those leaves that covered my life.
I thanked God, knowing that a new season was coming. As I give my life to Christ, He is faithful to take me through the seasons of life that will allow the kind of transformation that will strip my leaves and allow the light of the sun to shine through…if I let Him. Or, I can cling tightly to the leaves of this world, leaves that get heavy and numerous and needy and so full that barely a beam of light can break through. There is nothing wrong with a tree in the season of spring, but if left in that state we would never see the beauty that comes from the transforming hands of God. The vast array of colors, the depth and richness that comes from the next season of life. And if we stopped in this state of beauty, never shedding the colorful leaves, as beautiful as they are, then we would never reach that naked and vulnerable state that allows the fullness of the light of the sun to shine through. It is in this state, with fallen leaves, free of the sin and burdens of the world, that the glory of the sun can be revealed. And I really want the light and glory of the Son to shine through my life.
Brother Lawrence saw in the barren tree a season to follow, a season transformed by the hands of God to bear beauty and fruit. I looked at the tree, full of beauty and fruit, and saw a season to follow and a tree transformed by the hands of God to break the barriers of this world and reveal perfect beams of light. Praise God for revealing so much to each of us through the beauty of His trees.