Friday, July 10, 2009

3 Trees

We saw them in the woods on the old cemetery edge at the Missionary Baptist Church in Cades Cove. It was really a young buck with velvet covered antlers that drew us up the path, but as the kids (and my eager explorer husband) ran over the hill to see the deer, I stopped at the crest of the hill and noticed it.

At first I just saw the most severe one. It was a tall, straight tree that had a wide piece of bark stripped from top to bottom; the peelings lay in loops at the base. Our visiting friend (wilderness man #2) and his wife wandered by; he confirmed my thought it was, indeed, the result of lightning. I was fascinated and stopped to wonder at the sight. As I did, I noticed another tree behind the first had also suffered in the strike, though not so severely. On examination, I found a third impacted also, a little less. These three stood together, having withstood the shock of a very recent unexpected hit, yet they bore scars of what had taken place.

With my nature lovers having tromped past me into the field of discovery (really poison ivy, but that doesn't sound very poetic, does it?), I felt the freedom to just stop and consider those three wounded trees. The week before at our church, a man who served often and well had suddenly died, completely without warning. It was an unanticipated "hit," striking his wife, daughter, and brother deeply. Just as with the lightning, painful circumstances usually impact others nearby, and this was no different. He was truly a "brother in Christ" to many in our Body, and his community group was deeply moved TOGETHER. No doubt the family suffers more deeply than others can, but those "living close" also receive marks of suffering. It's part of Body life.

In Colossians Paul exhorted the believers about what it is to live as "new men" in Christ, and he said to "let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which you also were called in one body; and be thankful," Colossians 3:15. This certainly talks about unity, but it also reveals that one of the ways God gives us peace in our circumstances, in the "strikes" of life, is to be living in that "one body" life. That way of life is a reason to be thankful.

Nearby the three freshly hit trees there was an older tree with evidence of a past similar experience. It was also evident that as time had passed, the wound had healed, and that gives me hope, too. God is Jehovah Rapha, the God Who Heals, and His tenderness ministers to the wounds of those hurt when they live close and are hurt close. Woe to us when we stand alone.

I hope you stand with others in the Body today, and as we do, I'm so glad that the peace of God is able to rule!

2 COMMENTS ~ Click here to leave a COMMENT:

Courtney said...

Beautiful and touching analogy. So true - the marks of suffering. One day he will wipe away every tear - I long for that day - to see his face - his comfort is like none other.

Heidi Pocketbook said...

Julie, I am so glad I stumbled upon your blog. I really enjoyed this post and other posts as well. I hope it's ok that I follow.