Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)
TITLE: The Webbed Tree
By Betsy Tacchella
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Between our neighbor's house and ours grows a lovely, small flowering tree. One spring it produced its leaves as usual, but several weeks later something strange began to happen. Noticing some of the leaves were shriveling up, we inspected for insects. Something was eating the tree. Upon closer observation, we saw that a type of worm was not only eating the leaves, but was covering the tree with macabre, gray, stringy webbing. Within a week every leaf on the tree was gone, and thick, gray, hanging webs covered the trunk and every branch. It looked like something out of a horror movie.
Disturbed by this sudden vicious attack on the tree, we called in several authorities to look at this peculiar phenomenon. Several other trees were also beginning to come under attack causing us to imagine our entire yard being devoured. To our dismay, no one had any idea what kind of worm was consuming the trees.
Although we assumed the original tree would die as a result of the assault, we decided not to cut it down yet. Instead we sprayed it and waited. Weeks passed. Gruesome though it was, we gradually accepted that we might have to look at this macabre sight for some time. It became a conversation piece for all visitors. No one had ever seen such an ugly and perplexing mess.
About a month later, we closely observed the original tree once more and detected a slight hint of green inching forth from the limbs. Incredibly, over the next few weeks, the tree completely re-leafed and shed all the repugnant, lifeless webbing. To the casual onlooker, there remained no sign that anything had ever been wrong.
As I pondered the tree's remarkable recovery, I began to see a parallel between this tree and God’s work in the life of a believer. There are things that eat away at our lives - unhappy relationships, seemingly unresolvable problems, emotional upheaval, or financial burdens. We come to a point where we feel we have been completely stripped of our resources. There's nothing left but drab gray webbing. Woe is me and what's the use become our theme songs.
To the outsider, we appear at the end of our rope, lost, helpless, and hopeless. Then, ever so gradually as we trust God, a change begins to occur. At first, just a hint of new growth surfaces. The meshed grayness begins to subside. Soon we stand in full leaf having shorn all the gray webbing that so entangled our branches.
Jesus is Lord even in the most hopeless situations. When the worm has done its final damage and all looks futile, that's the time to look up, soak in the “Son” and begin watching for the first signs of fresh growth. God grows us best, when we run out of resources.
Isa. 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.
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