from guest contributor Valerie Morse
“But blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose confidence is in Him.
He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
The seasons pass so quickly. It feels as though I had walked through these leaves only yesterday. And yet…there you have it. Autumn has arrived once again, with all of its vibrant beauty and cool reminders.
Walking along, pushing through the leaves that now fill every pathway, enjoying the colours and rustling sounds that the trees have surrendered all around me, it is interesting to see the changes. No longer green with foliage, nor showy with assorted colours, the trees stand bare. There is a knowing, however, that one cannot be fooled by the bare look of each tree. There is still life there. Unseen, and resting, but still very much alive. A time of resting before they once again shoot forth the life within. A time of rejuvenation.
Except for one. Our majestic old Elm tree. The king of the forest, so to speak, as it has always towered above all the birches, maples and poplars. This tree has always held a special place in our hearts, with its unique beauty and stateliness. But its bare look, unlike the other trees, is a sad sight. There is no anticipation of renewed spring growth. How could such a mighty tree have succumbed to such a fate?
Something small and seemingly insignificant had invaded it for two years now. Small creature, the caterpillar, but one to be reckoned with. It gets right into a tree, along with many companions, and slowly saps the life from it. And so, there it now stands, our majestic Elm, the mere form of a tree, but with no life within.
It causes one to ponder, just as we read in the Book of Solomon, about those little foxes that ruin the vines (2:15). Small things that we feel are insignificant, and so we let them in, not realizing the harm that will result. Little roots of bitterness, resentment…a myriad of small emotions, that although unseen, are doing their work within, invading and strangling the heart of an institution, church or individual and growing until life is slowing threatened, and we become a form with no life within.
Perhaps, at this season of Thanksgiving, it might be beneficial, if we were to take to heart the remedy that is needed. Like the trees which are resting, as life is rejuvenated within, let us, as people of God, rest in Him, and allow Him to breath new life in each of us. It sounds so simple, yet profound, as Jesus invites us to refresh ourselves. He is the Living Water that gives life, and He invites us to come and drink. Rest in Him. Allow Him to renew in us a new and vibrant heart that allows life to once again spring from us. During this time of Thanksgiving, may we as a church and the people of God, truly comprehend with thanksgiving in our hearts, just what He is offering us…life abundant!