Butchered Trees and Slaughtered Lives

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In front of our house are three trees. One was on the left side, one on the right, and one in the middle. I'm not sure what type they all are as they simply came with the house; but every Spring if all went well weather wise, they would bloom with beautiful flowers. The one in the middle would boast elegant milky white flowers with long delicate petals, and the two trees on the side would pop with beautiful clusters of baby pink flowers layered with ruffled petals.

 It is a beautiful sight to have right in front of the house, but the trees were also right in front of the house's largest set of windows, and the leaves from the branches would block the light if not trimmed. If you are not experienced with trimming trees, I would recommend getting a professional; however one year my mom decided to trim the trees herself.

The end result wasn't anything you expect to grace the cover of Home and Gardens-especially the tree in the middle. Despite her well meaning attempt at tree trimming, someone would probably wonder how anyone could could mange to butcher a tree that badly. Now it is not like we often went to professionals to handle our yard work; we managed pretty well on our own. If the grass needed cutting, or the gardening needed weeding, or anything needed planting, we normally did it ourselves.  Overall, things tended to turn out pretty well even if not perfect. So it wasn't like I expected a designer result from this do it yourself job, but that tree just looked terrible-like you would have to hate someone to cut a tree that terrible. Later on I noticed something, though.

In time the tree that was cut up and messed up the most became the tree with the lushest foliage. It was so much thicker than it was before one could forget how badly butchered it was.  In fact, even while writing this article I even had some doubts as to which tree it was because it didn't look so bad anymore and, by the looks of things I wouldn't have guessed anyone ever did a horrible job cutting it in the past. When it had fewer branches to feed it had more nourishment to give to the leaves it did have. It seems that the amount of growth it had was directly related to the level of suffering it went through.

Sometimes our life plans and goals may appear to be badly butchered and totally messed up by this crazy world, despite God's good intentions for us. We may wonder how a loving God could even manage to let some things happen to us.  We might even question God and wonder how living was supposed to be a good idea-strongly doubting it is. Of course, not everything that happens is God's plan.  A lot of things that happen in this life just happen due to the sinful actions of others, ourselves, and sometimes just mistakes.  But that doesn't mean we are hopeless. "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'" Jeremiah 29:11

There is a story in which God spoke to Ezekiel about what looked like a hopeless situation. "And He said to me, 'son of man, can these bones live?' and I answered, "O Lord GOD, you know.'...Then He said to me, 'Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel; behold, they say, 'Our bones are dried up and our hope has perished. We are completely cut off.'' Therefore prophesy and say to them...'I will put My Spirit within you and you will come to life, and I will place you on your own land. Then you will know that I, the LORD, have spoken and done it,' declares the LORD.'" Ezekiel 37:3-14.

Sometimes only God can see the good that can come out of a situation, but God being able to see it is all that really matters. We don't have to be able to see what will happen in the future, but we need to trust in God with our lives, knowing He wants good things for us, in this life and more importantly in the next, regardless as to how our circumstances might currently look. "But I will restore you to health and heal your wounds,' declares the LORD, 'because you are called an outcast, Zion for whom no one cares.'" Jeremiah 30:17  "Though you were once despised and hated, with no one traveling through you, I will make you beautiful forever, a joy to all generations." Isaiah 60:15 "So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten...." Joel 2:25 Like that butchered tree God can take a life that seems slaughtered and ruined beyond repair and not only restore but make it better than it was before no matter how bad things may look. 

Picture originally found here

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