I didn’t know trees could walk. And, the thought of this is terrifying news to me.
I was one of those countless millions who crowded round the TV set once year when the Wizard of Oz was broadcast on one of the major networks and didn’t want to miss the visual spectacular.
Then, years later, it came out on DVD and my own children got hooked on the “Lizard of Oz” (by the way I didn’t correct their mispronunciation out of sheer hope that they would really believe that was the title and would one day bring it up in conversation in High School, or better yet as an adult… hilarious. Oh, the therapy bills yet to come.)
Anyway, after the 4,376,291st viewing of the DVD version of the great and wonderful Lizard, er, I mean Wizard, it started to lose its luster. But, one thing about that movie never changed for me; the sheer freakiness of those living trees in the dark forest.
They creep me out, even now, currently, as I am typing, in this moment, freaked (is that fern on the coffee table looking at me… don’t be stupid Addis, ferns aren’t alive. But, I know that geranium in the bathroom has a gun. He’s always been unstable!)
As a kiddo, the only thing that let me sleep at night after watching the Wizard was the fact that trees can’t move around. The thought of waking up to the rustling of leaves while being beaned in the head by a tree throwing it’s own apples from my closet would have seriously scarred me.
Hmm… maybe I’m the one who needs therapy.
Still, I knew I was safe because trees were stable and fixed in position. All I have to do is stay away from them and I’ll be ok.
That’s what I thought until my devotions with my wife this morning.
We were reading a very familiar passage, but a new thought jumped out at me. Pslam 1 reads this way:
1 Blessed is the man
who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked
or stand in the way of sinners
or sit in the seat of mockers.
2 But his delight is in the law of the Lord,
and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither.
Whatever he does prospers.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Ps 1:1-3). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
I have been that tree, planted in the right spot, well-watered and producing great fruit. The trouble is that I have also been a dried up, leafless booger of tree straight off the set of Sleepy Hollow.
Apparently, this tree can wander, and honestly, it’s more terrifying than the thought of some seriously grumpy elms trodding down the yellow brick road to my neighborhood.
What’s more concerning to me than the fact that I can wander away from God’s refreshing and provision is that fact that I WOULD!
What’s wrong with me?
Wait, that’s not an open question. It’s rhetorical, so, please don’t throw in your two-cents worth as a reply.
Here’s what’s wrong, even when we’re planted in the right place and living well, there is a problem with the human condition that causes us to believe there is always something better. Thus, we wander.
I have to be right, why else would infomercials have been created?
The answer is simply difficult. Being planted in the right spot and digging in deep roots is really important, but we have to also develop the discipline of contentment.
Paul knew this discipline when he wrote these words:
I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.
The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984 (Php 4:11-13). Grand Rapids: Zondervan.
Let me encourage you to lock into the places you know you should be rooted, where you thirve and produce fruit and then begin to focus on contentment. Just as any tree has to endure seasons, so will you.
It can’t always be spring. There will be hot summers, ice storms in winter and dreary falls, but if you’re planted in the right place then endure the seasons and learn the secret of contentment.
In your family, in your church, in the mirror… may you be planted by streams of water that produce contentment in you despite the seasons. And, may grumpy, wandering trees never find your house….geeshz those things give me the heebies.