Winter is a good time to look at trees.
While many of them do not showcase the finery of leaves or color or flowers, their architectural beauty is open to be seen.
Sturdy trunks stretch up lifting branches toward the sky. The intricate weaving of large and small limbs creates designs that fascinate, and the variety of barks that are now prominently displayed indicate the many types and differences of the trees.
Quite a few of the trees carry scars. During the summer, these blemishes are covered with their coat of leaves, but winter bares them for all to see. Storms survived, fires endured, and the constant attack of pests of all varieties have all left their marks in the twists and knots that make each tree’s skeleton unique.
Add to that the plants that use the tree as their home, and one realizes that the trees carry quite a burden. In their winter bareness, clumps of mistletoe become evident, and the gray tangled hair of moss covers many branches. A few trees appear to have become their own ecosystem when one observes the ferns, small trees, and other plants that have taken root where branches adjoin the trunks.
I believe we can learn from the architecture of the trees.
During the easy, growing times of our lives, we can cover our scars and the parasites that cling to us. But in the winter of our souls, in the winter they become clear for all to see.
Like the tree, circumstances and situations of life have helped shape us. The question becomes whether that shaping has made us stronger or whether it has weakened us, allowing us to fall in the storms of winter. Has the mistletoe of ambition or pride or self-centeredness so overtaken us that it has depleted our spiritual strength? Is the moss of this world’s activities so heavy on our branches that we break when the winds of trial blow hard? Are we being nourished daily through God’s Word and His presence, so that we can stand strong through the winter? Are our roots planted firmly in the truth of God’s character holding us fast when winter blasts?
When I look at a tree in winter, I see great beauty and I see a testimony to the creative power of the Creator and the storms the tree has weathered. May my life give testimony to the God I serve when the storms of winter accost my soul. May the architecture revealed speak to the sustaining power of my mighty Lord.
Job 23:10 But He knows the way that I take: when He hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold.
James 1: 2 My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, 3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience (endurance, perseverance).