What the Tree is Teaching Me
A longing fulfilled is a tree of life. Prov 13:12b
For the better part of the last 10 years, my husband and I have experienced various trials that have required a great deal of waiting, hoping and trusting. These tests have ranged from significant work stress to the brutal challenge of infertility; perplexing health issues with our son and praying through the decision to adopt. Each of these situations have brought with them longings and desires we have had to continually surrender to the Lord.
Proverbs 13:12 tells us a longing fulfilled is a tree of life. I love this metaphor for several reasons and I have found it to be true– indeed the Lord has seen fit to place a tree right in our front yard to teach me a thing or two.
When we moved into our house nine years ago the previous owners shared some insight about this tree. They told us each year it would shed every leaf and become the ugliest barren tree on the block. We were told we should not doubt, despite appearances, because if we waited it would bloom again and become full with leaves in late spring.
So year after year we have watched this tree lose every leaf the moment the weather gets cold. For six long months the tree looks sad and dark and spindly like there is no life at all on the inside. We have thought on more than one occasion that it has indeed died and we should consider cutting it down. Then almost unexpectedly in late spring–usually right on or around our oldest son’s birthday– we see the tiniest green leaf or two beginning to peek out. We have come to anticipate seeing the slightest glimpse of green and it has become a game in our family to see who can spot the green first. Practically overnight the tree is completely full of large, lush green leaves instantly providing shade and beauty to our front yard.
So what has this tree taught me?
- The outside is not a reflection of life on the inside. Sometimes we just can’t understand what the Lord is up to and if we rely on appearances we will surely become discouraged. We have to trust that the Lord is working when it doesn’t appear to be any evidence.
- The wait makes the gift much more treasured. I wrote more about waiting here and the Spurgeon quote has proven to be true again and again in so many instances. I am certain that if the tree looked glorious year round we would not appreciate it as much.
- People are watching. This tree is talked about a lot! We spend many afternoons in our front yard and neighbors often comment on our tree. I need this reminder that the same holds true in our lives. People are watching our lives in seasons of waiting and I want to live well for Jesus in the barren as well as the bountiful times and speak of His faithfulness even when my circumstances seem bleak. There is always a reason to praise Him.
- The end result is a blessing you and to others. When the tree finally blooms we enjoy it’s shade and our neighbors do too. I love sitting under the tree with my neighbors as we watch our kids play. The blessing reaches beyond our family.
I want to encourage you today that the Lord is working even now in your life even if your tree seems barren. You may have a deep desire you have yet to see fulfilled. Remember this tree. Drive by my house if you live in Houston! Trust that the Lord is working in your life in unseen ways. If we remain faithful the blessing may (and so often does) exceed our expectations. ~Courtney