The two Poplar trees stand side by side in the park across from my living room window. I’ve been watching them slowly turn golden for the past few weeks and a few days ago the fall winds came and began to strip them bare. A few stragglers are still hanging on, but soon the trees will be only trunk and branches. The inner sap has probably almost completely stopped flowing.
They mimic how I’m feeling these days as I continue through chemotherapy. Bare. Sparse. Dried out. Enthusiasm is a word that seems foreign. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have hair. There are days when I want to rail against what’s happening to me, days when I’m just angry. But then I look at those trees and I think of the scripture that has so often come to mind as I’ve watched them fade into dormancy.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. … You will go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills will burst into song before you and all the trees of the field will clap their hands. Instead of the thornbush will grow the pine tree, and instead of briers the myrtle will grow. This will be for the Lord’s renown, for an everlasting sign, which will not be destroyed.” (Psalm 55: 8-13)
So I’m thankful for those trees that are standing guard so close by. I can see they’re still standing, still swaying in the fall winds, waiting. I know the biology of tress; and though I know winter is coming I know their sap hasn’t disappeared, it has just stopped running for a while and will run again in a few months. When it does they will sprout tiny green leaves that shout the word ‘Revival’ and will grow and clap loudly in the spring winds as their sweet scent permeates the air. And their creator will be glorified.
God is in the business of revival on all levels. But there is purpose in the dormancy. A friend sent me a link to a wonderful song, Blessings, by Laura Story. The lyrics rang so true –
‘Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops
What if Your healing comes through tears?
And what if a thousand sleepless nights
Are what it takes to know You’re near?
What if my greatest disappointments
Or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst
This world can’t satisfy?
And what if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are Your mercies in disguise?
“His mercies in disguise” – things like trees that have been stripped bare but still stand in the wind.
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