No, that’s not the name of a band or movie. And no, it’s not the steps for stealing the covers back from your spouse at night. Actually, it is different types of ice-laden trees.
Recently, and at the time of this post, most of the county I reside in is covered in ice. Top to bottom, ice. Ariyana, my 7-year-old baby girl, said it looked like Elsa had visited. While the roads mostly dry and passable, there is still the threat of falling trees and debris everywhere. The temperature hasn’t gotten warm enough to melt all the ice on the trees. The kids have not been to school Monday through Wednesday and they’re out again on Thursday with the threat of being out on Friday as well.
A lot of the talk around the office of late has been centered around or directed towards the solid water all around. One such conversation I had was with our company chaplain. As we were talking, I commented on how sad the trees looked right now. Her remark is the reason and title for this post.
“You’re right, they do look sad. Some are bending. Some have broken. Some have even been pulled right out of the ground. I’m sure there is a story in there somewhere…”
A majority of the trees in peril were slumped over. Branches that once held their heads high above all, had now fallen to their knees and were kissing the ground. Overall, they looked very sad. Any tears they shed were instantly frozen and added to the already burdened weight.
Have you ever been on your knees begging God to take away the pain? I have. The years 18 – 20 were the toughest of my life. My parents divorced. I totaled my car. Broke up with my long-time girlfriend. That’s just a few things that happened. I know everyone has a story of dark times in their life. I remember asking God why and begging him to take the pain away. We did not see eye-to-eye at the time. I just could not understand why he would let a child of His go through this much stuff. I get it now.
My relationship with Christ has grown exponentially since then. I did not realize it at the time, but in order for me to draw closer to Him, I had to be bent. I had to eventually be broken.
8 We are hard-pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; 9 persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.2 Corinthians 4:8-9
Trees that could not hold the weight any longer just SNAPPED! Some of them broken in half. Some broke at the bottom or the top only. Either way, they were broken trees. Crews were dispatched to remove trees that fell across roadways impeding travel. We applaud these men and women and their dedication to the job at hand. They were like road angels to travelers. They slaved tirelessly cutting, splitting, grinding, and removing trees and their debris.
Have you ever felt so lost that you had nowhere else to look but up? I have been broken. Brokenness if placed in the wrong things can lead down a path of more destruction not only for you but for those around you. If brokenness is entrusted in God and you commit your life to work towards a relationship with Him (who made you), then he will lead you down the right path. I want to be clear, I did not say you would no longer experience hurt, pain, suffering, anger, jealousy, hatred, or sadness with God directing your life. I did not say that the path would be at all easy. But with God at the helm of your ship, the winds of eternal life in Him will blow you in the right direction.
My brokenness was not the end though. The old me needed to be uprooted and replanted by the hands of Jesus Christ my Savior.
17 The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.Psalm 34:17-18
A small number of trees had been completely uprooted. They lay completely flat on the ground, motionless. These trees were the easiest to pity. They were so sad, just lying there on the ground. For those trees that did not fall into the roads, nothing will become of them. They will remain untouched for the foreseeable future. But wait, nothing will become of them?? That’s a lie. Broken trees lead to the new growth of other plants. New homes for woodland critters. Food for bacteria which will create vitamin-rich soil perfect for saplings to grow.
When you pledge your life to Christ you must die to self. What do I mean by this? Some believers like to ride the fence of living a Christ-like life. Essentially having their “okay” sinner life whilst living a life pleasing to God. This is unacceptable behavior. God does not negotiate. Dying to self is not an option. It is also incredibly hard to do. That is why God is there to walk with you every day. You must seek him and learn from him as if you were a child. In truth, we are all children of God. Being uprooted and replanted anew is an incredible life transformation.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.Galatians 2:20
Don’t Get Iced Out
I was bent, broken, and uprooted. With the aid of my wife, Alyson, we continue to seek God as individuals and in our marriage and family. It is important to note that we must each seek Him as individuals. If you are married or dating, it is critical to keep God at the center of the relationship and seek Him together. If you have a family, openly and often discuss God and what it means to be a follower of Him. Your Creator loves you and the gift of eternal life in Heaven is yours for the taking.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.James 1:2-4