I don’t know why but I have always had a special fondness for trees; and, since most of my life has been spent living in Virginia, there has seldom been a time when I did not have a beautiful one to behold. That being said, try to imagine the shock that I experienced shortly after my husband and I were married, when we moved to West Texas, a place where trees are a rare and very precious commodity. At first, the fact that we would actually be moving to a place where trees would be so scarce didn’t really sink in; but, as we were driving across country to our new home, and I saw the trees start to disappear from the landscape after we left Oklahoma City, the reality of it hit me like a ton of bricks. It was at that point that, suddenly finding myself surrounded by all the yellows and browns of the great southwest, all I could think of was, “Where did the green go—and what in the world have I gotten myself into?”
I certainly don’t mean to disparage West Texas, for the area has many special beauties all of its own: the gorgeous sunsets, miles and miles of big skies, and the chiseled-out beauty of the nearby canyon are but a few—it’s just that my beloved trees were not among them. But as much as I missed my trees, I learned very quickly that it was not wise to lament their loss out loud. Having noticed that whenever any “newcomers” started making comments about the treeless horizon, the locals, as lovely as they were in all other respects, would very quickly and enthusiastically suggest that they go back to wherever it was they came from. (Just a side note—although I had never cared to watch golf tournaments on television before going to Texas, once there, I found myself tuning into to the tournaments every weekend just so I could see the trees and the long stretches of lovely green grass!)
After living in Texas for almost three years, we very happily made our way back to Virginia where we bought a home in an area filled with some of the most majestic trees that I had ever seen. They were huge, with canopies so dense that it seemed as if we were chicks being sheltered under the wings of a big green mother hen. I loved walking around that neighborhood, particularly around twilight, just so I could gaze upward and marvel at the silhouettes created by the treetops that were set in relief against the dusky sky. Often, as I walked, I would mentally try to measure the height of the trees in an effort to determine their ages, and as I did, I would silently wonder what tales those trees would tell, if only they could talk. I was sure that they had seen it all: all of the comings and goings as one generation passed into another, along with all of the births, deaths, joys, and hardships that life would surely sandwich in between.
Of course, common sense would have us believe that trees don’t really talk, at least not in a language that any of us have been able to understand so far. But the Bible would have us believe differently, for in the story of human history it recounts for us, not only do trees speak, but the message that they have to relate to us is of such importance that it has literally meant the difference between life and death for every human being who has ever lived. What is the message that the trees have to tell us? It is the destiny-altering, everlasting story of love known as Redemption: a story which began with a choice between two trees, a story whose pivotal point was reached when God’s Son died on a man-made tree, and a story whose ending takes us to a tree of new beginnings, in a brand-new dimension of life that we will one day know as eternity.
At this point, and as much as I love them, all I can say in response to all of this is: trees, trees, and more trees—why trees? When He could have chosen anything in this wide world to use for the accomplishment of His purposes, why would the all-wise, all-knowing, and all-powerful God of creation choose to use the humble tree to tell His wonderful story of redemption? Or to be more specific:
- Why would He choose to use trees to test the measure of a man’s righteousness?
- Why would He make the choice of one tree over another mean the difference between life and death, not only for the one doing the choosing, but also for all the ones who would come after him?
- Once the choice had been made, why would He make the way to the Tree of Life inaccessible to the very ones who needed the new life that it offered?
- Why would He allow an ugly, cruel tree fashioned by men be the instrument of torture and means of death for His one and only Beloved Son?
- Why and how would He make what was a tree of death for One into a Tree of Life for many?
As you can see, we now have lots of questions about the trees, trees, and more trees of redemption—but so far, not any answers. Therefore, in a quest for those answers, let’s put on our thinking caps, take some time to ponder the questions and search out the answers in the Word, and then let’s meet back here to share what we have learned when the time rolls around for our next visit. Until then, be sure to seek out a good tree and tell it “Thank you!”
Big Daddy Weave tells us what being “Redeemed” means to him…