Once Upon a Tree …

I haven’t always been a good news kind of girl. Matter of fact, for a very long time … I anticipated bad news. Always. It was because I saw my teacher murdered by a student at my school when I was only 14 years old.

After that, I still loved God but I didn’t trust him. I struggled to believe the things I read like: “I have good plans for your life.  Plans for a hope and a future.” Promises like, “All things work out for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose.” I wanted to believe that kind of good news. But I just couldn’t.

And for a very long time, I couldn’t see the forest for the trees.

At a young age, I devised a plan to love God … but distrust him.

I became a ‘good Christian girl’ with a guarded heart. It was entirely exhausting. Because when you love someone but you don’t trust them – the relationship is tiresome. And when you love God but you don’t trust him – you try and take care of yourself. And that is a very big job. But I kept at it for years. Actually over a decade. And then something happened that wrecked my big job.

I went on a hike in Colorado. It started in a dense forest – on a wide path. Simple and easy. Everybody was going in the same direction – and seeing all the same things.

Tall things.

Small things.

But then I saw something that no one else noticed …

it was because God caught my attention.

Years ago, a fire ravaged that forest. And in the fire – many things died. Everywhere I looked I saw evidence of the burn. Charred, fallen trees – things that lost life. But springing up beneath the ashes, there were little bits of new growth. Tiny seedlings fighting for a chance at life.

And on that forest trail, I discovered a truth.

Like the forest, my soul experienced a burn. And the question God was asking was this … would I focus my life perspective always on the burn?

or on the hope of new growth?

In the forest, God presented a truth too big to contain. And a love too generous to deny. He was asking for my trust again … and I gave it back to him. Then slowly but surely, I started to turn my focus back to the good news. Because I understood – as if for the first time – that God can be trusted. In all things. That his love is enormous enough to accompany my soul through the burn – and plant hope on the other side.