I chose the quick path down to the river. But after soaking my feet awhile in the cool waters, I chose to take the long way back, not anxious to call it a day spent.
I climbed the boulders that lined the riverbank. Then, I wound my way uphill through the dense Ouchita pines. Though I couldn't see the forest (or the river) for the trees, I could still hear the water crashing through, creating for itself a rocky path.
Everything started appearing the same. If you've seen one rock or pine, you've seen them all?
An occasional ray of sunlight stole through the branches -- not enough light to give life to grass. I knew that as long as I maintained an upward climb on the pine-needle flooring, my car would eventually appear, parked on the side of the highway at the hilltop.
There they were -- pines, like people -- some tall, some short, some thin, some strong. But all of them were basically the same. Ah, but the proudest and those who honor them should take heed to Ezekiel 31, lest they be brought low. It wasn't exactly what I wanted to see or to contemplate, so I let my mind rest on Mark 8:22-26, giving thanks to God for my 20/20 vision.
One very steep step upward found me grasping a strong limb to steady myself. And there she was, all alone, amidst (but not part of the family of) the trees.
The pines all fought for the light of the sun. But that tiny, crimson wildflower stood, delicate and unique in the spotlight of one tiny ray. Her silken petals formed a tiny bell with silently clinking, yellow stigma. I closed my ears off from the world and listened with my heart.
A still, small plea: "Fear not. You are not alone."
When you walk through the forest, when all hope of finding me seems lost, just walk. Keep walking. And keep listening with all your heart.
“Scripture honors Sarah for her faith in God and dedication to her husband. In Hebrews 11:11-12, she is listed among the great "cloud of witnesses" of past faith heroes. Also, the apostle Peter described Sarah as a shining example of godly womanhood. (1 Peter 3:5-7) The highest honor, though, was the role she played in the lineage of Jesus, the promised Messiah.
Like all of us, Sarah did not lead a life of moral perfection. She made mistakes. She did not trust God when she should have, nor did she always accept His message into the deepest parts of her life. However, Sarah’s story represents something greater than one woman’s experience. It aptly demonstrates God’s unrelenting pursuit of each one of us. Despite her faults, inattention, and persistent lack of faith, Sarah witnessed God turning the impossible into reality. Her response?
She once again laughed in the joy of the Lord.”
Mark 8:22-26 They came to Bethsaida, and some people brought a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. When he had spit on the man's eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?”
He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.”
Once more Jesus put his hands on the man's eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly. Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don't go into the village."
Ezekiel 31:1-18 In the eleventh year, in the third month on the first day, the word of the LORD came to me: "Son of man, say to Pharaoh king of Egypt and to his hordes: 'Who can be compared with you in majesty?
Consider Assyria, once a cedar in Lebanon, with beautiful branches overshadowing the forest; it towered on high, its top above the thick foliage. The waters nourished it, deep springs made it grow tall; their streams flowed all around its base and sent their channels to all the trees of the field.
So it towered higher than all the trees of the field; its boughs increased and its branches grew long, spreading because of abundant waters. All the birds of the air nested in its boughs, all the beasts of the field gave birth under its branches; all the great nations lived in its shade. It was majestic in beauty, with its spreading boughs, for its roots went down to abundant waters.
The cedars in the garden of God could not rival it, nor could the pine trees equal its boughs, nor could the plane trees compare with its branches- no tree in the garden of God could match its beauty. I made it beautiful with abundant branches, the envy of all the trees of Eden in the garden of God.'
Therefore this is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'Because it towered on high, lifting its top above the thick foliage, and because it was proud of its height, I handed it over to the ruler of the nations, for him to deal with according to its wickedness. I cast it aside, and the most ruthless of foreign nations cut it down and left it. Its boughs fell on the mountains and in all the valleys; its branches lay broken in all the ravines of the land. All the nations of the earth came out from under its shade and left it. All the birds of the air settled on the fallen tree, and all the beasts of the field were among its branches.
Therefore no other trees by the waters are ever to tower proudly on high, lifting their tops above the thick foliage. No other trees so well-watered are ever to reach such a height; they are all destined for death, for the earth below, among mortal men, with those who go down to the pit.'
This is what the Sovereign LORD says: 'On the day it was brought down to the grave I covered the deep springs with mourning for it; I held back its streams, and its abundant waters were restrained. Because of it I clothed Lebanon with gloom, and all the trees of the field withered away.
I made the nations tremble at the sound of its fall when I brought it down to the grave with those who go down to the pit. Then all the trees of Eden, the choicest and best of Lebanon, all the trees that were well-watered, were consoled in the earth below. Those who lived in its shade, its allies among the nations, had also gone down to the grave with it, joining those killed by the sword.
Which of the trees of Eden can be compared with you in splendor and majesty? Yet you, too, will be brought down with the trees of Eden to the earth below; you will lie among the uncircumcised, with those killed by the sword.
This is Pharaoh and all his hordes,' declares the Sovereign LORD ."
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This is very deep Joyce! I love the little wildflower who stood in THE SPOTLIGHT of one TINY RAY. One tiny ray of HIS LIGHT reveals MUCH. (Jere. 46:7--WHO is this coming up like a flood,? (8) Egypt rises like a flood, and he say,s I will go up and COVER the EARTH, I will DESTROY the city and ITS INHABITANTS. (10) For this is the day of the Lord God of hosts. (17) "PHARAOH, king of Egypt, is but A NOISE. He has passed by THE APPOINTED TIME!) (Is. 59:19-When the enemy comes in like A FLOOD, THE SPIRIT of THE LORD will lift up A STANDARD against him.) Great article! Love, Sharon