Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Can't See the Forest for the Trees.

I have so much to do.  The list of things to check off is long.  I should be working on so many things, but...

I sit.

I am not sitting to be lazy, but to breath.  I am sitting to seek refuge from a noisy world aimed at hurting.  I am sitting to find peace.  I am sitting to hear from God.

There seems to be a battle raging at all times in every corner of our life.  When I look at the news, I see pain and struggle.  When I look into my own life, I see the same.

Friends hurting from wounds unintentionally inflicted on them.

Family hurting from financial battles they can't seem to win.

Churches hurting from selfishness and anger creeping in to destroy.

A school battling to stay the course.

Parents looking for answers to the unknown.

Teachers needing security.

Battles.  Hurdles.  Pain.  Anger.  Sorrow. The list of battle wounds and scars can grow long too. So many bleeding and praying for healing.

Is there Hope?

YES!  It requires a leap of faith though.  God has large fatherly arms that wrap around His children with compassion and love.  He intentionally seeks to bless us and heal the brokenness.

I am sitting on my back deck.  It is pretty much the first time since we moved here four months ago that I have felt the desire to sit here.  I have a forest of Evergreen trees both IN my backyard and beyond it.  We live right by a lake, but you wouldn't know that because of the trees.

On the other side of this forest, the lake is probably glistening from the sun.  It is probably quiet and serene.  A beautiful picture of God's creation.  A promise, I would say.  Something beautiful is going to come, but it is just on the other side of this forest.

The trees are beautiful too.  But what makes the lake a promise, is the same thing that makes the trees a battle.  These trees are tall.  They drop pine needles ALL YEAR and I see the buds of what will be pine cones soon.  The trees can be a battle.

They block my view from the lake.  They don't let the sun shine in most of my backyard, so the lawn is mostly moss.  The branches hang down threatening to drop on my roof.  They bring creatures and insects that are unwelcome in my home.

These are battles.  Just like the spiritual and emotional battles we face every day.  Menacing, irremovable towers of strength beyond my own.

In these trees, though, I can see beauty.  Being they are Evergreen, they remind my that God is forever constant, unchanging.  His purpose, power, love and provision never change.  There are breaks of sun THROUGH the trees.  I think of how the sun warms us after long winter months, just as the Lord's healing brings warmth from the cold, dark pain within our battles.

I hear the birds singing.  They live in these trees.  Matthew 6:25-26 says, "Therefore, I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear.  Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air, they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?" (NIV)

God is faithful in providing for these birds.  How much more will He be faithful to provide for me? Even when I am facing these battles, how much more would God be sufficient in grace? Those birds are helpless without our Father, just as we are.

While I know that a short walk THROUGH these trees I will find a beautiful lake, when the Lord brings me THROUGH the battles, he will show me a beautiful place of His creation!  It is His promise!  These battles are not in vain or wasted.  They have to come to purify us, mold us and use us, but on the other side, we will see the fruit of our battles. God's glorious purpose- Himself.

Knowing those promises, that provision through the battles we all face, makes the forest beauty.  It doesn't mean that it won't be painful.  It doesn't mean that work won't be required on our part.  But if we look at the forest as the whole picture, we can appreciate the need for it to be there and cling to the promise of beauty on the other side.

Psalms 27:13-14
13 Yet I am confident I will see the Lord’s goodness
    while I am here in the land of the living.
14 Wait patiently for the Lord.
    Be brave and courageous.
    Yes, wait patiently for the Lord. (NLT)

Now...I should probably finish my coffee and tackle the to-do list.