Bare Limbs

mbhqxiwI took this picture Christmas Day near Nashville, Tennessee, as I lay on a creek bank, with a full stomach, looking up into a cloudless blue sky, thinking about Christmases past.  In my prone position, staring up at the huge oaks and poplars lining the bank, I was taken by the stark beauty of the bare limbs as they reached up to their source of life. Those branches could be a metaphor of my life and the countless times I reached up to God petitioning Him to intervene on my behalf or for loved ones in times of urgent need. It has been my experience that it is only when we strip ourselves naked of pride and self sufficiency that we truly surrender ourselves to our Creator.  It is only then that we wholly depend on our Source of life and His unfailing provision for us.  Looking at those limbs, I realized that while they were all similar, none were just alike.  For the hour so that I spent there listening to the babbling waters, I imagined those limbs as reflections  of  particular times in my life when I did not just pray, but times I begged God to help in periods of utter powerlessness. Here is a sampling of some limbs that I identified:  My dad’s fight with lung cancer, the night my brother was shot and critically wounded, the time in my early business career when I made a really big mistake, the day my nephew drowned, the days in Cathy’s pregnancy with Michael when we feared that there were problems,  the false scare that a young friend had MS, three newborn baby boys of dear friends born with heart problems, my 45 year struggle with my past including a lot of lies, the loss of a church I helped to build and the part I played in that sad story, the time I took Michael to the emergency room with a kidney stone,  the rejection I got a few weeks ago when I reached out after many years, the many times I prayed for the sick and hurting in our churches.

The powerful truth of the naked tree is that the source of the tree’s life will surely cloth those branches with a new blanket of leaves in the spring. The nakedness will last only for a short season.  Likewise, our times of utter powerlessness over life’s events are never permanent, but for a season only. In time God always clothes us in a coat of new hope.  The sun always rises and God always loves without fail.

Something to think about


My  journey to wholeness in my free online book  @ Part 1 UNSCREWED – Becoming Whole Again

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