Decades had come and gone and the bristle cone pine tree stood atop the mountain, a proud sentinel of time honored regard for the beauty of the high mountain meadow.
Generations of birds had nested within her bosom and the joyful chirp, peep, pipe and twitter were wondrous counterparts to the whistling winds that caressed her branches forcing her to sing a song known only to the pine.
One day, while the tree regarded its little corner of the meadow, she watched an approaching storm. Of course, the birds were frightened. That was to be expected. It wasn’t long before a variety of fur covered members of creation rushed by. Raccoons, rabbits, deer and even a bear ambled by growling collective displeasure at their forced retreat.
The sky boiled an uncommon black soup and the tree looked on, little interested in the meal being prepared. Her limbs shivered a cold dread. She had seen such storms in her life, but the fury always left her in ragged awe.
Suddenly a lone bird landed in the shelter of the meadow pine. The little bird seemed oblivious to the coming storm. A clap of thunder startled the bird out of her oblivious lethargy. She took flight, but as she did, a lone seed fell from her beak tripping on various pine boughs as it succumbed to the grip of gravity.
The tree gazed at the seed for just a moment before the thunder sounded warning once more. The sky seemed to temporarily peel the darkness away with brilliant bursts of illumination followed by more crashing. It was awesome to behold and the tree was nervously excited watching this dance of fury.
She could not leave the meadow like the displaced animals, so she was forced to face the fearful rage of nature.
The rampant march of the storm brought rain, drenching the pine. In the meadow, the lightning bolts danced to the rhythm the thunder provided in this terrible tango.
There was a moment when light and sound merged into one. Was it utter brilliance or pure obscurity that was waiting for the tree? Perhaps it matters little for the pine was seemingly cut down among her kin. A lightning bolt fractured her topmost branch and the process of death began.
A few days passed and the wounded tree lamented the injustice of nature’s wrath. It was then that she noticed that a woody vine had begun to wind around her trunk. It seemed that even in her coming death there were those that would take advantage. She gazed at the vine and shook feebly, hoping that the vine would release its grip.
One week, then two followed and the vine kept climbing the tree until the tree was certain it could no longer breathe.
“Why won’t you leave me be?” the tree asked in great sorrow.
“I am here to help you,” the vine responded happily.
“You have surrounded me completely, I am no longer whole. Please, just let me die in peace,” the tree called.
“You must trust the Giver of gifts. I was sent to you and am here to restore, not harm,” the vine said as it continued to climb and tighten its grip on the tree.
“I am dying,” the tree said. “How can you help me?”
“You must simply trust,” the vine called cheerfully.
As the weeks passed something remarkable happened. The tree began to improve. The fracture was closed by the tenacious grip of the vine. Life giving sap began to fill the fissure and the tree began to gain strength.
When visible scars proclaimed the worst had passed for the tree, the vine withered and died.
In an odd twist of irony, the pine tree lamented the passing of one she had counted as foe.
Have you ever discovered your heart unexpectedly lanced and are left to wonder why? We can often feel a certain death is overtaking us. We may not be suffering a physical death, but the heart is adept at feeling pain so intense that it may feel as if death is waiting.
Like a climbing vine, God wraps our hearts in such a unique way as to bind up our heart wounds and hold them together until they have healed - until scars confirm that healing has taken place.
“He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds” (Psalm 147:3 - NLT).
Isn’t it time to let the Vine bind?
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