I walked through my yard to my favorite tree on the property. I went closer this time, and this is what I discovered. Of course, it was fascinating to see nature working in this way, but these little buggers were eating my favorite tree, destroying its beauty. All for what purpose?
I hadn’t even made it back to my house yet when I realized the spiritual allegory I had just seen. Our lives are like that giant leaf, that tree, and like it or not, there are times when life, the world, people, the Enemy, and our experiences, will eat away at us. These things just happen. They must, and God allows it. It’s part of living in a sinful, fallen world. We live with this stark reality that life is not about maintaining perfect happiness or order, and if it were, then nobody wins. And everyone who is still deceived, still thinking that life should somehow be lived free from harm and interruption, should look at this harmless tree. It’s just there, existing, doing what it was created to do, and here comes these pests to destroy the fruit.
What a drag! But then I realized something. This tree is a product of seasons. Seasonal change. Every year, that tree goes through the scorching Summer sun, the winds and battering rain, the coldness of Fall and Winter, with all the ice and barrenness that comes with it. Yet still, every Spring the new buds emerge. Then after a month or so they grow again to that amazingly green, lush color that I’ve come to love. This tree (still not sure of the species) will shade the birds, feed small animals and insects, and bring wonder to my eyes once again. Still, the pests will return to feast, and fill their “bottomless pits”.
Here’s the thing. I only noticed them when I looked very close. I stood directly under the canopy, close enough for a low-grade picture. But last year, right about this time, I took a snapshot from a distance We had just purchased the property, and I wanted to show this tree to my son. You can see the green, the uniqueness of it, and the wonder of God’s design as a whole. In this particular picture, for me anyway, I see the joy of my children, and a reminder of God’s goodness and provision as a whole. I’m sure the little leaf-eaters were there just after we left, but that’s the point. They’re always gonna come. There will always be trials, but perspective is everything. God is always doing something good.
Joel 2:25 I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten
The challenge for us to see life this way. Understand that there is a constant pest, the Devil, and he is always working to eat away at the lives of God’s people. Thankfully, along with his craftiness and evil persistence, there is also a blindness of sorts. While he is working to destroy, and God is allowing it, the sovereign God of the universe is orchestrating something grand. He masterfully uses seasons to shape us, change us, and teach us to be more aware, more dependent on Christ. Stand back and look at your life as a whole to see that God is a master builder. One season is painful, but the next is fruitful. One season is cold, but as we wait on the Lord, we find that the next is one of blessing and great fruitfulness. There is no formula here. Some seasons are longer than others, and life is not an exact science either, but one of faith and hope in a perfect God, a God who restores, confirms, and strengthens.
1 Peter 5:9-10 “And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you.”
Here’s the point of it all. Maybe you are in a season of barrenness, a season of drought and accumulated hurt. If you are, then look up. Know that God sees the big picture of your life. You, like that tree, are a product of God. God allows the seasons. God allows the pests. God brings the rain, and the sun, and the ice. God is working all these things together for your good, for His glory, for you who love Him and are called according to His purpose.