Love Through Trees

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I couldn’t live where there were no trees – something vital in me would starve. ~ Anne of Green Gables
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I love coming across new evidence of God’s love for us.
I have always loved trees, have always felt much like Anne did about living without them, but the most I’d really thought about them in terms of their relation to God is what an amazing job He did in creating them.
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I recently listened to an interview with a couple of artists on Mars Hill Audio Journal.  It was only a minute or two of the entire segment, but they mentioned that after the human face and figure, trees are the main focal point for artists. Whenever there is a tree in a painting, it automatically draws the eye to it.
Why is that true?  One of their hypotheses was that it has something to do with our deep subconscious knowing that we need trees to survive, our knowing that we depend upon trees for life.  I wonder, though, if it is even deeper than that.
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My mind is drawn to the tree that God chose as our point of obedience.  We chose foolishly and we disobeyed.
My mind is also drawn to the tree that God chose as our point of redemption.  He chose beautifully and we were saved.
God has chosen trees for great purposes.  Did He have those purposes in mind as He created trees?  I wonder.
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Trees are often used in God’s Word to show strength and constancy.  One of my favorites is the Psalm that says that a man who delights in and meditates on God’s law is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season and whose leaves never wither.
I wonder.  And I imagine.
I can imagine that God knew that He would create Man to love images, to hunger after metaphors to help explain the unexplainable.
I can imagine that same God, before He ever spoke light into being, planning out His world to contain specific metaphors of meaning, just because He loves us.
I can imagine Him planning His trees to look a certain way, planning to use them in a particular manner, so that we would see them and draw meaning from them and be satisfied, just because He loves us.
Perhaps that is a stretch.  Perhaps it didn’t really happen that way.  But it seems like something that would be just like our God: to carefully plan out His creation in the way that would give His children the most joy.
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Wouldn’t that be just like Him?

Art credit: last photograph by Kirk Sewell (R K Sewell Photography)

edited from the archives

The Artistry of God

Revel with me in the artistry of God.
artistry
Be amazed at the depth of His creativity.
creativity
Look with wonder at variation beyond number.
variation
Ponder the beauty of difference.
difference
Of large
large
and small,
small
of smooth
smooth
and warty,
warty
of single color
single color
and multi-hued.
multi-hued
Praise the loveliness of His artistic diversity
diversity
in all of the people and pumpkins around you.

Trees

I couldn’t live where there were no trees – something vital in me would starve. ~ Anne of Green Gables
IMG_5628
Forest snow 1
IMG_5621
IMG_4274
I love coming across new evidence of God’s love for us.
I have always loved trees, have always felt much like Anne did about living without them, but the most I’d really thought about them in terms of their relation to God is what an amazing job He did in creating them.
GlorietaDCICampingBravesVacation 123
IMG_3456 - Copy
I recently listened to an interview with a couple of artists on Mars Hill Audio Journal.  It was only a minute or two of the entire segment, but they mentioned that after the human face and figure, trees are the main focal point for artists. Whenever there is a tree in a painting, it automatically draws the eye to it.
Why is that true?  One of their hypotheses was that it has something to do with our deep subconscious knowing that we need trees to survive, our knowing that we depend upon trees for life.  I wonder, though, if it is even deeper than that.
IMG_3492
IMG_5371
My mind is drawn to the tree that God chose as our point of obedience.  We chose foolishly and we disobeyed.
My mind is also drawn to the tree that God chose as our point of redemption.  He chose beautifully and we were saved.
God has chosen trees for great purposes.  Did He have those purposes in mind as He created trees?  I wonder.
IMG_5628
IMG_5659
Trees are often used in God’s Word to show strength and constancy.  One of my favorites is the Psalm that says that a man who delights in and meditates on God’s law is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in season and whose leaves never wither.
I wonder.  And I imagine.  I can imagine that God knew that He would create Man to love images, to hunger after metaphors to help explain the unexplainable.  I can imagine that same God, before He ever spoke light into being, planning out His world to contain specific metaphors of meaning, just because He loves us.  I can imagine Him planning His trees to look a certain way, planning to use them in a particular manner, so that we would see them and draw meaning from them and be satisfied, just because He loves us.
Perhaps that is a stretch.  Perhaps it didn’t really happen that way.  But it seems like something that would be just like our God: to carefully plan out His creation in the way that would give His children the most joy.
Dad Light 4
Doesn’t it?

Art credit: last photograph by Kirk Sewell (R K Sewell Photography)

Jumping Musicals for God

My girls love to jump on their bed.

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I half-heartedly tried to keep them from jumping (because half-hearted discipline works so well in parenting) until their bed frame broke. Now their bed consists of just the bedsprings and mattress on the floor.

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At which point, I couldn’t think of a reason to keep them from jumping anymore, so I told them to jump their hearts out.
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Now, they don’t JUST jump, mind you. Oh, no. That would be much too tame for them.
They put on entire jumping musicals for my viewing entertainment. Usually this consists of my eldest jumping with gazelle-like leaps in circles around the perimeter of the bed, making up songs about God and Jesus and angels, while my middle follows right behind her, echoing whatever odd combination of words that had just come out of her sister’s mouth.
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Often, the girls are the angels (although sometimes they are Mary and Jofus…that’s “Joseph” for those who are unacquainted with toddler-speak) and they sing about Baby Jesus (around Whom they are apparently jumping). They make giant leaps into heaven and back, leap up and land in “worshipful poses”, and (my personal favorite) wave magic wands to transport us all into heaven to be with God.
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I was sitting on the recliner, watching them perform (which is usually all that is required of me, thankfully!), when I had a sudden image of God, looking down at them from heaven, being delighted in their creativity, delighted in their desire to be a part of His story, delighted in their wish to be in heaven with Him.
You know that feeling when your heart is so full it feels as though it will burst? That is what I felt (after I got past the potential sacrilege of it all) right then, watching my little ones jump for God’s pleasure. It made me wish that I could see God, see His enjoyment of them.
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In that moment, I was so very grateful that I, too, am allowed to be a part of God’s story. In that moment, I loved God because He loves my girls so very much. I loved Him because He loves me and delights in me just as I delight in my girls.
I loved because He first loved me.

God Laughing

I recently made a slightly startling discovery about myself.
Of all of the many ways I imagine God, of all of the variety of emotions that I attribute to Him, I don’t ever imagine Him as happy.
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I don’t imagine Him laughing or smiling widely. I don’t imagine Him with eyes twinkling or Him speaking with such joy evident in His voice.
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I have, in the past, imagined Him as serious, holy and unapproachable. I have imagined Him as gently gazing with love on His people. I have imagined Him fierce with righteous anger. I have imagined Him sad, heart breaking as we disobey. I have imagined Him in full brilliant glory, all around Him bowed low to the ground.
But I have never imagined Him laughing in delight.
Then I heard David Suchet reading the Jesus Storybook Bible. (David Suchet? You know, Hercule Poirot.)
Poirot
Anyway, I listened to David Suchet read the story of creation and heard such laughter and exhilaration each time God looked at His artistry and said “You’re good!”
I heard the amazement and joy in His voice when He looked at mankind and said “You look like me! You’re perfect.”
I heard the excitement and merriment when He got to tell Abraham, “Guess what?! I will give you so many children and grandchildren and great-grandchildren, you won’t be able to count them any more than you can count the stars in the sky!
Why have I never imagined this before?
Even when I read things like If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! I didn’t imagine the excitement and fun twinkling in our Father’s eyes as He gives gifts to His beloved children.
You know. The same delight that sparkles in your eyes when you give a gift that you chose specially for someone you love.
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Yes, God loves us.
But it is even more than that.
He delights in us. His eyes light up with amazement when He sees how perfectly He made us. He laughs out loud with joy at the miracle of who He created us to be.
Will you believe that?
You, sister, who have been told by the church that you must look a certain way or behave in a particular manner in order to be beautiful or accepted by God, that you can only be defined by marriage or motherhood, see God gazing at you, mouth smiling wide with joy, eyes sparkling with pleasure and satisfaction as He sees your heart and your outward appearance. You are lovely because you are loved by Him.
You, brother, who have been told that you must enjoy certain activities or conduct yourself with a certain demeanor in order to be truly a man or to fulfill God’s purpose for you, hear God laugh loud in utter delight at the way your personality mirrors some aspect of His own, see His arms flung wide in joyful abandon at the sight of you trying to be like your Father. You are admired because you were created by Him.
You, dear one, hear God laughing over you with radiant delight, see Him grinning wide with eyes gleaming, feel His joy wash over you in absolute approval.
You are perfect just as He created you because He loves you.

 

Art credits: Creation of the Sun and Moon by Michelangelo; Woodcut for “Die Bibel in Bildern” by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld