A bare willow tree

Pressure comes in life, sometimes stripping us bare. It can be persecution, pandemic or a panoply of crises. What are we to think, to do?

My neighbor’s willow tree reminded me of answers I’d learned long ago. In late summer and fall, it had gorgeous branches full of green leaves that would sway happily in the breeze. The tree looked like it was enjoying life and its freedom.

Then the seasons changed. Men came and cut off all its branches, stripping it down to the nub. It became a bare tree. To add insult to injury, when the rains came and fell on the exposed cuts, the bright wood began to dull and become gray. Everything that seemed to have so much function and beauty now looked like a dead pole stuck in the ground.

On some days, the pole looked like it was simply numb, feeling nothing. On other days, it seemed to want to rage at the sky, saying, “Why did you do this to me?”

We seem to ask the same questions when pressure comes, when things are taken that we value or even treasure. We experience many powerful, often negative emotions. We probably, like the willow, cannot fully see what is happening.

We can learn answers from the willow in spring. Slowly, little green shoots appear. They turn into branches, which quickly erupt with leaves. The tree looks even bigger than before.

God does not send calamity, but will often use it to prune us so that we can bear more leaves, more fruit (John 15). Rather than shut down, fear or rage at God and each other, we can reach out to God with thanks for the change in season and what He will accomplish in and through us. We can reach out to others in love rather than take out on them our frustration from thwarted expectations.

God is still in control, and loves you thoroughly. He is for you and with you. Be of good cheer, for He has overcome the world that threatens you. He gives grace and mercy for times like these. You, like the willow, may be experiencing a change in seasons, but please remember and trust that God is still Lord of the seasons

Keywords: seasons, change, trust

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