Barren Trees

I saw the most beautiful sight tonight as the sun was setting.  Clouds darkened the sky in the east, opposite the setting sun.  Trees lined my view to the south and the sun was just kissing the tops of the trees.  It was absolutely beautiful.  The colors were so dynamic and such a stark contrast.  I could almost see the dark clouds fleeing in fear of the brilliance on the tops of the trees.  (I wish I would have taken a picture)

It got me wondering if I had ever looked at a barren tree and thought it was beautiful.  Typically, a barren tree is not in its glory – it is more a symbol of death than life.  The Spring brings a completely different story, but as long as it is Winter and no leaves are on the tree, the tree looks barren, empty.  But tonight I looked at several barren trees and was struck by their beauty.

Perhaps it is obvious to you the connection God made for me tonight.  When light shines on anything, it brings out beauty.  Sometimes the darkness that we have had to weather actually makes the beauty that much more brilliant when the light shines because we notice the contrast.

The very nature and principle of light is that is drives away darkness.  Darkness simply can not remain when light is present.  Darkness by definition is actually the absence of light.  It implies that light is not present.

“When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12).

Darkness is present in our world, but we do not have to walk around in the thick of it.  Jesus is the Light of the world.  Invite him to be present with you.  He will not come unless invited.  He will stand at the door and knock (Rev. 3:20) because He so desperately wants to drive away the darkness for you.  He is just waiting for the invitation.

…so why do we still experience darkness if we have already invited Him to dwell within us?

If you literally invited a guest into your house, having them there makes an impression if you are willing to acknowledge that they are there and be attentive to engaging with them.  In doing so, you take your mind off the things in your home that need to be done (like laundry, dishes, vacuuming, paying bills, etc.).  Those things may still be there, but you are not giving your attention to them, so they do not have an affect on you.

It seems ridiculous to think of inviting someone into your house and NOT engaging with them, but if they have been there for a while, you tend to be less attentive and your energy is spent thinking of other things.  You get used to them being there and you may feel you have less time to devote to them.  After all, those other things are still waiting for your attention.

Jesus says, “Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness.”  It is possible to walk in light and still attend to the everyday mundane tasks of life.  The key to experiencing light is found in following Jesus:  following Jesus when life is good and following Jesus when life circumstances are less than desirable.

As this temporarily barren tree is waiting for the seasons to change, I am reminded that when God’s light shines into any of life’s experiences (including infertility), he produces beauty, even if our circumstances have not yet changed.  After a long winter, laying in the sun feels SO good.  I plan to lay out in the Son today, letting His light soak into my soul.  Will you join me?  It’s peaceful and soothing…

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