I love trees.
Jeremiah 17:7,8 has become my “go to” verse since the COVID-19 Virus has taken the world by storm.
Blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when the heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.
A tree is a beautiful metaphor for the Christian life. A tree cannot sustain itself apart from its water source. Followers of Christ recognize our utter dependence upon Christ, who is referred to in scripture as the Well of Living Water. In the first chapter of Psalms we see a poetic description of such a person, “That person is like a tree planted by streams of water which yields its fruit in season, and whose leaf does not wither- whatever they do prospers.” A tree develops a sturdy trunk, limbs, leaves and fruit, in its abiding relationship with its source.
Trees limbs begin to form, early in a tree's life, giving the tree shape and balance. I think of the limbs as significant relationships that form throughout life. Limbs weather the seasons and the storms better than leaves that can fly off in the slightest breeze or come-and go with the seasons. Leaves represent circumstances, people, and events, which change as the pages of life are turned.
COVID-19 has hit like an unexpected and fierce storm. The winds have blown through lives, relationships, jobs, and circumstances. Many routines and plans have been disrupted like fallen leaves. Meaningful connections with friends and loved ones may have fallen off due to stay-at-home and social distancing orders. Sometimes a storm ravages a tree. Significant relationships are severed through death, separation and because of differences and conflicts over policies and politics. Limbs are struck down, leaving spiky edges and bare spots as a stark reminder of what has been lost.
In this time of uncertainty, God’s word tells us that we need not worry or fear. In the midst of uncertainty and change, the struggle is real. Our roots must run deep into the “life support” of the Living Water. Life will once again spring forth from the broken places. There is beauty in the breaking. Leaves remain green, and the pruning brings forth more fruit.
A tree’s circular rings, in its trunk, tell a bit about what a tree encountered through the years. The rings indicate when there were years of growth, drought, insect problems and other impacting conditions. They are a timeline of sorts. As well, our stories are being shaped by this historic pandemic, COVID-19. No one is unaffected. What will your rings tell about how you encountered the challenges of this season?
Followers of Christ, stand strong during this season. Place your trust and confidence in the Source, The Well of Living Water. Thirst after time in his presence. Drink from his word, the Bible. And for the fun of it, take a hike through scripture and look at how trees have helped tell the story of God’s redeeming love. From the Tree of Life in Genesis, to the One who grew up as a tender shoot and took our sins to a tree on Calvary. Other than God and people, the Bible mentions trees more than any other living thing. Trees, indeed, have a story to tell!