Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Trees (12/05/05)
TITLE: The Faithful Witness
By Bonny Miller
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Baby Jesus lay silently in a manger as shepherds and kings came to worship Him. Mary and Joseph knelt in humility beside Jesus. Angels came to glorify this baby who was indeed a King.
As a young man Jesus was a carpenter. In the beauty and grand spirit of a tree, Jesus saw creation: creation of shelter, creation of ships, creation of awesomely carved chests and boxes, creation of chairs and tables atop which were filled with bountiful harvests. Jesus saw so much more. His hands brought forth an abundance from mind-sight and heart-sight to the realities of touch, feel, eye-sight, and smell.
During His ministry, Jesus worked a miracle as He and His disciples traveled by boat. Jesus lay sleeping. A storm fell violently upon the boat, which rocked mightily as the waves pounded its wooden structure. The wind screamed furiously around them. In great fear, the disciples awakened Jesus.
He (Jesus) replied, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?" Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm. (Matthew 8:26 / NIV)
Imagine a massive tree swaying in the mighty winds of a storm. Its roots, a creation from God Himself, holds the tree firmly to the Earth. Now imagine the boat swaying, rocking in the mighty winds, yet through His very words and commands, Jesus provided the roots to hold the ship firm- and even more, because of Jesus' authority, nature obeyed, and the disciples were kept safe. At that moment the disciples were truly beginning to know Jesus for who He really was, and still is, the son of God.
Hundreds of years before the birth of Jesus, there was a seedling that sprouted. God watered it with His tears. God knew this very seedling was to become a grand tree whose wood would become the cross upon which Jesus would shed His own tears-- and His own blood before He breathed His last breath as a man. Yet, gloriously, three days later, Jesus rose again!
True healing, understanding, knowledge, joy, hope, the abundance- will come only if we put our trust and faith in God alone. We are as His seed, and so planted, we become as a tree. Grounded and rooted in Faith, we hold on to this faith knowing that God will provide all we need and knowing that God is a living God, and as a stream which flows constantly, so as God's love is for us.
We need only to reach out to Him to claim the inheritance He bestows on us through grace. In doing so, God works His grace through us while we spread forth our branches and deepen our walk with and toward Him, increasing our Faith, and strengthening and growing the roots that began as a planted seed. God alone is glorified when we bear the fruits of the Spirit planted in us, growing in us, and spread amongst us.
Nothing can separate us from the love of God- Nothing can come against us. Knowing this promise of God's ever-flowing, abundantly rich blessing of His well-spring of love, we are a witness to this, and as we become a witness, we must humble ourselves so that God's grace will be evident in spite of our sinfulness and brokenness.
God will reap a harvest of ripe fruit through us, and the leaves of our calling will always be green as a result of God working in us when our Faith is active in works of devotion, obedience, and humility while His grace shines forth. Duty is our responsibility to carry out those works.
He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. (Psalms 1:3 / NIV)
And so, a tree is so very special to God. The next time you see a tree-- the next time you look into the eyes of someone sharing with you their Faith, listen for the very words of God to whisper through them to you the stories, the true stories, that have unfolded throughout History with the witness of that tree.
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