Last spring my husband and I watched helplessly, as our beloved tree in the front yard failed to bud and leaf out. Many years before the kids had bought the sapling and planted it for me on a Mother’s Day. It was just becoming a large, beautiful, shade-bearing tree when the deer snacked on the bark one night and dealt it a fatal blow. To see our tree dying caused us an actual feeling of grief.
A compassionate friend did some investigating, which resulted in a learned farmer doing a drive-by.
He said, It’s a goner.
But he said we could try trimming down some of the branches and see if that would force it to bud out. He said in two weeks we would know if there was any hope. So my friend and her husband came over with supplies and did surgery on our tree while we watched with long faces.
A few weeks later the tree leafed out a little bit on the top and in a few other places. It looked very Dr. Seuss-ish but alive.
Now, a year later we are joyful, as the tree has slowly filled in with leaves. There are still some large, dead branches, but it seems new life is springing up where it can. Slowly the new growth is covering over the dead places, and it makes me so happy. I go out and look at it every day to see what new green places have shown up. I think by next summer it will look perfectly healthy.
People are like my tree.
Sometimes so much bark has been stripped off and life-giving sap has flowed out that it seems there is no hope.
But Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” (John 10:10 NIV)
As I looked at my tree this weekend, I began to cry. Faces of precious women came into my thoughts –women I know who were abandoned, abused, addicts…empty and hopeless. Now these women go to church with me every week, and they are full of life. Jesus did some kind of surgery on them, and now a person is shocked to hear that there used to be barren places.
This is the miracle Jesus does in a life.
I thought our tree was destined for the chopping block for sure, but I was wrong. And now I am determined to see people with the same hope. Surely if God cares enough and has the power to save a little tree in my front yard, he can do even greater wonders in the life of a person.
You are much more valuable to God than a tree.