Thursday, April 21, 2016

The lumberjack

On a piece of land once filled with acres of trees and an array of shelter-seeking wildlife stood a dozen big burley men dawning flannel button-downs and well-worn ball-caps. In their hands were chain saws and axes. The trees that used to stand so healthy and strong laid lifeless on their sides, slashed at their stumps. The branches just beginning to bud in the spring warmth, laid scattered across the field. The rich foliage once a nesting place for birds and a hiding place for squirrels reduced to scrap, destined for the wood chipper.
As I drove passed the busy scene a righteous indignation came to a raging boiled inside of me. I became angry at the lumberjacks who were destroying God's beautiful creation. With their axes they laid waste to majestic maples and stately spruce. They made barren the place where pine trees and cherry trees naturally thrived.
Didn't those lumberjacks consider the wildlife they were disrupting? Did they not look at those trees and see the life God had breathed into them and the miracle of creation? Was the value of the lumber so desirable and the promises of land development so appealing that acre upon acre of vibrant, healthy forest be demolished?
Out of my anger towards the tree choppers came a nudge from God. It started with a "love your neighbor" and turned to "take the plank out of your own eye." Immediately I wanted to push aside God's reprimand. I've never chopped down a tree, God! See, no plank here!
But God wasn't referring to trees.
With the cares of this world and the concerns of my heart I have cut down the confidence I have in Christ. I've taken an ax made of worries to trusting in God. I've thrown His promises in the wood chipper of my unsettled soul.
God has placed in my life the most glorious of His creations, His very Son, His plan for my salvation. There is no one, no tree and no landscape that can even begin to compare to the unmatched majesty of the Lord Jesus Christ. He brought into the world unconditional love, unmerited mercy and boundless grace. All of the goodness that makes life beautiful is found in Jesus Christ.
And yet I've cut it out of my life time and time again when the going gets tough. I've held tightly to anxieties and concerns, taking an ax to the peace of Jesus Christ. I've succumbed to anxiety and slashed God's gift of His presence by choosing fear.  Instead of protecting the bounty of blessings God has given me - His love, grace and mercy made manifest in Jesus - I have chosen to let concerns lay waste to the confidence I have living in the land of the Lord.
But no matter how many times I come in with my heavy equipment full of worry and my lumberjack hat well-worn with concern, God breaths new life into my heart. Each time I turn back to God in demolition regret He is quick to replant my field full of His rich and abundant blessings. He sows seeds of His goodness and, before I know it, the trees are in full bloom and the birds are back in their nest.
God will restore what I've destroyed and revitalize the barrenness of my heart the moment I entrust my every worry and concern to the Lord. He is the Master Planter and He is bringing the bounty of His beauty to the land of my life with His goodness and grace.

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