Trees who are themselves.

This morning my walk took me down by the creek, where after the recent rains the leaves on the trees glowed in their contentment at having been washed and well-watered. Lots of light was coming through the gray atmosphere, though the drizzle was thickening. I thought of the Psalm that speaks of us being like trees, “planted by the rivers of water, whose leaf also shall not wither….”

Most of the time I do not feel like a tree! I’m too wispy and bendy, like grass. I won’t say I’m ever a weed, because that concept doesn’t fit with the reality of us being made in God’s image. But the trees are themselves, without fretting over their self-concept, as long as their roots go down where their nourishment lies.

After I came home I made a nice soup breakfast, but before I sat down at the kitchen table facing the garden and the birds — oh! a crow is visiting…. I looked at the books on my mobile bookshelf for something new to read. This was the first page of the one I opened:

“Every creature has in it the instinct to be as true as possible to what God created it to be. Even plants have this directive in them. All nature stretches toward the nurture it requires for its fulfillment — the daily bread, so to speak, that it needs for its survival.

“One spring, we planted a tuberous begonia upside down. When we dug it up in the fall, we saw that it had started growing downward into the earth, but had soon made a U turn and brought itself up into the daylight and blossomed with the other begonias. We have, every one of us, been planted facing the earthly  darkness of sin and death. This business of making our way upward and into the daylight, to blossom forth as the individuals God made us to be — this is the enlightened life to which our inborn instinct calls us.

“As daylight reached through four inches of dark soil to draw the begonia toward it, so the Lord Jesus Christ is always reaching even into the darkest places on earth and inside our souls to draw us into a blessed life. Holy people understand it. They say, He has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light (I Peter 2:9). The Prophet told of it: Upon those who sat in the dark region and shadow of death the light has shined (Matthew 4:16; Isaiah 9:2)”

A few pages further in we read:

“When is a soul mentally fit? When it knows a lot about itself (that is, what God made it to be and how to work with God), say holy counselors. When it readily sees and accepts reality. When it is able to prevail against whatever psychological and spiritual obstacles it may face. When it can protect itself from spiritual harm. When it is using its free will for its own greatest benefit…. The greatest benefit we’re capable of achieving is being in harmony with God’s perfect (all-loving and divinely wise) will for us.”

Dee Pennock, the author of this book, God’s Path to Sanity, calls this health of soul, “sanity.” The idea brings to mind what I’ve read elsewhere, how it is truly irrational to sin against our loving Father, not that we don’t often have perfectly good (irrational) reasons for turning away from His love.

I wanted to drink this book in big gulps, but I restrained myself and will take sips of the tonic. God provided the the fittingly beautiful illustrations before I ever saw the text, and those will, I am sure, be part of my ongoing treatment plan.

Ho, every one that thirsteth,
come ye to the waters,
and he that hath no money;
come ye, buy, and eat;
yea, come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.

Wherefore do ye spend money
for that which is not bread?
and your labour
for that which satisfieth not?
hearken diligently unto me,
and eat ye that which is good,
and let your soul delight itself
in fatness.

– from Isaiah 55

12 thoughts on “Trees who are themselves.

  1. I’m going to look for the book. And on the matter of “fittingly beautiful” images, your photographs fit quite well with the reflections about trees and grass. I hope you might be moved to use the inspiring material from past entries to produce a book or two whose pages we could enjoy turning often.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The passage about the begonia is really wonderful and it’s a good message. I think I’m a tree. But like a palm. Deep roots but flexible. They bend to be able to manage the hard storms of hurricanes.

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  3. I stopped to find a copy of this before commenting. Abebooks was much lower than Amazon. Hope it gets here soon! Not only have I been wanting a new devotional book as I’m on my 6th year on mine but when I read the portion you quoted about when is a soul mentally fit, when it knows a lot about itself, I immediately realized that I always thought I did know that but these past weeks of unease and fear have shaken my pins, so to speak. Not the bedrock pins but those that make me question why I’m letting middle of the night wakeful hours after a bathroom trip seem so lonely. I guess I’m thinking that the same confidence I have in the daytime of everything being in God’s plan and therefore I can trust in it, shouldn’t be leaving me in the middle of the night. Not that I haven’t had some insomnia over the years but it was more from my mind not shutting down about what all I needed to do the next day. Now I lie there worrying–not about where I’m going if I should catch this nasty virus but about whether life will ever be normal again or not, whether I will ever see my big family gathered together again for birthdays and Christmas and so on.

    Maybe your book won’t address any of that but your excerpts make me think I need a little fertilizer to help me grow toward the light, in the middle of a dark night.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I often envy the deer I see walking across the field each evening. They have no fear about where their next meal comes from. They wander along and gather what God has put there for them. The same with the birds. Even though they may be surrounded by danger, they don’t dwell on it. Ah, to have that kind of trust in God all the time. I was struck by the heart shaped leaves in the last photo. One more reminder of God’s love! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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