I walked the mountain this morning and made a discovery. A few weeks ago a series of small, but potentially large, fires burned in the forest near and on our farm. Today I found where fire breaks had been cut by the forest service and walked the length of one.
Powerful, indiscriminating equipment left a swath of crushed rock, raked bark, ripped earth and twisted saplings. The forest’s beauty was gashed, bruised and battered. The saplings appeared to suffer the worst, but from them I learned the most.
They are recovering. Though the limbs were ripped from them, though the bark was skinned away, though they were knocked to the ground and trampled by enormous weights and forces…they’re recovering…resprouting from the root.
New limbs have begun to bud. In a few weeks, they’ll be launching sunward, producing leaves and seeds. The damaged parts will eventually die, though removing them altogether would be most healing. No, these saplings will never quite be what they were intended, but they’ll survive and they’ll thrive. People can too.
Bull dozer size events bowl over children, innocents, good people. They’re trashed by some maniac driven by the fire of Hell. In a moment of unconcern, he rakes across them without discrimination, and leaves smashed, scratched, and shattered lives. The wounds are deep. Irrevocable. Why are beautiful lives battered? How do they recover?
I believe the saplings demonstrate the cure. They start at their roots. Who we are is not dictated by what happens on the surface, but by our connections in the deep hidden center. Find the source of your life and you’ll find the strength for its recovery and renewal. “I am the…life,” said Jesus. Scripture says about God, “In him we live and move and have our being.”
The scars, the twists, the wounds don’t define who you are. Cut them off. Draw on God. God loves, nourishes, feeds, cares and shapes. Reach for the Son. Pursue his will and ways with all your heart. Focus, as everyone should, on things above.
Just as it was never God’s plan for bull dozers to level the forest, he never had in mind that we should be hurt. But Evil exists, and people are pulverized. Like rich soil, God is near, able to nourish recovery, deliver life and produce new discoveries every morning.