Friday, October 24, 2008

Tree Story

Today in Alvechurch the autumn day is blustery with skies of stormy gray. With every gust of wind, more leaves fall, shaken loose from trees that are shedding their tawny fall dresses. I walk along the village streets, my feet rustling through a carpet of saffron yellow, russet and chestnut and I inhale the pleasantly pungent scent of autumn detritus. In the tree tops, an ocean of wind roars, sounding like a storm at sea.

Leaves rain down, until recently hanging on, firmly attached to their woody homes, but there seems to come a moment for each leaf, when it falls without effort. Just a tug of the wind and the stem that harnessed it so firmly to the tree, lets go.

In the small orchard at the bottom of our property at home in Canada; I notice a similar moment when the ripening apples, pears and plums are ready for picking. Try to pick the fruit too soon and the stem holds it firmly to the branch.

Nature does not rush her timing and it is not by any effort of the tree that fruit grows or leaves shake loose. The factors that determine the moment of falling leaves or ripening fruit are external for the most part. The environment; wind, sun and rain, all make a difference.

I can’t help but think of the parallel with the habits I sometimes despair of shaking off, and the new ones—the Bible calls them the fruit of the Spirit—that I long to acquire. I ponder the lesson of the trees and know that God alone can, and must, do the work in me.

Some of the environmental factors; spiritual disciplines they are sometimes called; of prayer, solitude, reading God’s Word and living in an atmosphere that welcomes His Spirit; all make the difference. In that environment he, the master gardener shapes my soul.

3 comments:

Susan said...

Oh, that is so good to remember! We want to rush the ripening and picking of our own fruit (well, "His" fruit, really) but it serves us well to think of the damage we can do when we try to hurry it up and pick it in others, too!

Dear Jesus, Author and Perfecter of our faith, give us the grace to wait patiently for the fullness of time... In ourselves - and in others!

Marilyn said...

"In ourselves - and in others" That's great, Susan. Often, if I'm not rushing one, I'm rushing the other.

God's timing is perfect. I need to come back to that again and again. This image of the leaves gently swirling in their appointed time is one to savor. Thanks for this, Belinda.

Learning to move at the speed of God is a lifelong endeavor and one worth making. Just for today, I want to live in God's time zone. Whatever has been prayed about, I'll leave to Him to work out...in His timing.

Ah, peace.

Joyful Fox said...

Belinda,

I enjoyed walking with you through gray skies in the village of Alvechurch. Through your words, I could see and hear the autumn day there. I especially like your line, "In the tree tops, an ocean of wind roars, sounding like a storm at sea."

Nice.

The message touched me deeply. There's comfort and peace knowing that when God is ready He'll bear the fruit.

Sometimes I try to force God's hand in my "drivenness", wanting to be more like Him. They say a fruit-bearing tree takes 5 years to bear fruit. I guess waiting patiently, trusting, faithfully yielding to Him will accomplish more than all my striving and leaning into the harness.

Your message is timely. Thanks for being the messenger.

May you enjoy each and every minute of your time across the ocean.