When we lived in our old house I would sit on the porch and look out to the oak tree that stood at the front of the yard. I loved it. I was so drawn to it....I blogged about it once (lol).
Then came the tree outside of Jubala. I used to work at Jubala - a coffee shop in Raleigh. There’s a tree that stands right across Hillsborough St. to the left of the bell tower. Nothing special about it. It just caught my eye one day. I thought to myself, I want to be like that tree. In the midst of the chaos of cars rushing down Hillsborough Street it stood strong and steady. It was rooted. I want to be steady in the midst of the chaos of my life. I wanted to be strong and rooted.
Months past and I hadn’t thought of trees that much. Until one morning I spent some time writing...I thought back to that tree outside of Jubala. “What was it about that tree?” I never once looked at that tree and thought, “Wow that tree did a really great job growing itself. Well done.” No. My mind ALWAYS went straight to it’s Creator. I was always drawn to awe and wonder of who God is when I looked at the tree. Then WHY when I look at people in my life who look so much like Jesus do I miss it. I miss that they were made by the Creator. Somewhere along the way I start to worship the tree over the Creator. I miss it. Instead of my mind going straight to the God that made them and wired them I stop short and slowly begin to worship them. I begin to form an idol.
And hear me say that I am GRATEFUL the Lord has placed so many people (trees) in my life who look and live so much like Jesus does. But my vision gets blurred and I try to do everything in my power to imitate that tree that I think I should be like. When in actuality, God has made and wired each tree differently.
My sister sent me a few quotes the other day that she learned in class:
“We’ve divorced the beauty of the creation from the Creator himself.”
“We have to recognize the desirability of something as a reflection of God.”
“Recognizing the source instead of shaming...that EQUALS overcoming temptation.”
“Reordering the desire instead of shaming the desire.”
Then what is the root/source of me consistently missing the Creator and stopping with worshipping just the creation?
Do I trust that He notices me, recognizes me, longs to be with me? Do I trust that that is enough? Or do I stop short and satisfy myself with the tree’s recognition?
I know that this thorn will be present til the day I see You face to face. I will never be fully satisfied or fully noticed. Earthly love will always leave me longing for more. There will always be the temptation to feast on the love and affirmations of trees around me. And I know that’s You within them. Give me new lenses to recognize the reflection more clearly.
Rather than wallowing in shame and confusion I will instead recognize the root, the source of my desire -- to be loved, favored, and wanted -- and I will rest assured that these earthly loves are only shadows and reflections. I will recognize that only YOU can fulfill this longing. No human being, no job, no reward.. This is a thorn. And I see it. And I won’t hide it in the dark and I won’t wallow in my sin. I will choose to pursue the all-consuming love of God.
I will continue to surround myself with trees who look a whole lot like their Creator. I will watch and learn and see the Jesus inside of them. But I will not worship them. I will fall to my knees at the One who made them and wired them differently and uniquely.