Trees have a beginning much like we do. Small and seemingly insignificant. Their seeds are scattered, thrown into the wind, attached to the fur of an animal, planted by a caring farmer in the tilled soil. Even the biggest and greatest of the trees, start without any voice to bargain for an ideal environment or purpose.
Like a tree, we don’t get a choice. We don’t get to choose our parents, the town we live in, or the hospital we are born in. We don’t have a say so in our financial stability, our religious upbringing or how good our kindergarten teacher is. Like a tree, God tosses us into the place where HE wants us planted, and we root and we grow where we are at.
As we grow, we discover that we need nutrients and water and sunshine. We discover that we are created for more than just mere existence. Certainly, trees don’t have as great of a purpose as we do, but nonetheless a purpose. I wonder if the first trees created by the Master Sculptor knew the privilege and great calling on it’s seemingly insignificant life. The Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden had a high purpose, and had the power to change the world.
“The LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden, and there He put the man whom He had formed. And out of the ground the LORD God made every tree grow that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” Gen 2:8-9
God placed the very first reflection of His love–the man–right in the center of trees. Trees planted for beauty and purpose. He entrusted a tree with life and knowledge. The seed of God in man, and the seed of life in a tree, cohabitation amidst God’s beauty. A small humble beginning, with great significance.
The beginnings of our lives are no accident. They are carefully and meticulously planted right where God sees fit for our best growth and potential according to His plan.
For those of us with struggling childhoods, this doesn’t make much sense; especially considering we don’t have any say so in where we land. Like any plant or tree, we don’t have the capability to seek out and find the conditions in which we think we would grow and prosper. I landed in a family full of love, but without a father. I grew up with my grandmother as my caretaker because my single mom worked and dealt with the realizations of her own beginnings. I was planted in Texas, amongst mesquite trees, thistles, alcoholism and secrets. It was my small start.
One of my greatest forms of nutrients was to regularly attend church because I had a Godmother who took her title VERY seriously. I had a grandmother who loved to be at church with to see what all the other church ladies were up to. She especially loved it when we sang How Great Thou Art out of the old musty green hymnals. I attended Sunday School every week, even if my mom wasn’t going to make it to church. Most often I was the only one in my class. That’s how my spiritual seeds were planted.
I was always in a state of daydream and wonder about my dad, and frustration with the constant upheaval my life. I lived in a state of fear and confusion, and those negative emotional seeds carried with me through adulthood and still haunt me today.
The holy seeds sown by God for good, and the destructive seeds planted by the world collide and create the beautiful mess you call your life. And those seeds cannot be ignored. Because to ignore the seed is to ignore the very core of who you are and why you exist.
The first step in becoming a tree is embracing your seed, embracing where you were planted. It is only then will you be able to grow stern and strong. A tree in the forest accepts his surroundings, and learns to grow and prosper regardless of the environment. It’s secret is in reaching toward God, pushing toward his creator–not allowing the terrain or whether to determine its purpose in maturing stronger and becoming closer to the One who takes care of him.
And if God takes care of the trees, or the birds of the air that nest in those trees, he would certainly take care of you, right in the environment He so skillfully planted you in. When we fight against our environment, we spend our energy in the wrong place. But if we can accept our environment, we can use our energy to push up and toward spiritual maturity,toward a closer, more loving relationship with Christ.