When I drive through the farmlands of Ontario as I travel north out of the city, my heart is always stirred. I grew up in the city and now live in the suburbs of the biggest metropolitan area Canada has to offer, but I am a country girl at heart. Something always draws me away from the busyness and constant flux of change in the city to a place where not only is the pace slower, but even the landscape seems to be frozen in time. There is a comfort in the unchanging gently rolling hills, and as I drive along a set of old oak trees, standing alone against the back drop of crops and grass, always catch my attention. For a moment I join them in a timeless escape as I admire their majesty, their beauty, and their ability to remain standing out in the open through the passage of time.
Surely these trees have weathered many storms. The winds of the ages have beaten against their branches and bent their boughs, but in the peace of a cool summer evening with the sun beginning to fade in the horizon, a traveler like me could not even imagine the storms these trees have endured over time. How many generations of children have climbed in their branches ~ little boys soon grown to become dads and then grandfathers, and then as life would have it, they would then be gone from this place, replaced by others to come?
And yet the trees remain.
I am filled with a quiet feeling of peace and yet also an overwhelming sense of awe as I gaze upon the trees. There is a longing in my heart to stand firm as these trees do. I desire a faith that is unchanging, regardless of what the storms my life will bring. Time will come and go. I, too, will pass through many seasons, but will my faith stand strong?
My current season of life has brought with it much change as my Faithful Gardener has done much pruning. It is a season of holding on to the truths of God’s good plans as laid out in John chapter 15. It is to our Father’s glory that we become strong and bear much fruit:
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in Me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be My disciples.” John 15:1-8
My gaze is pulled away from the serenity of the beauty of the trees. I know I must venture on, and turn my focus to the road ahead. My season of change has not yet come to a close, but even in that there is peace. I know the One who is unchanging and He travels this road with me every step of the way. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. He put this longing in my heart for a sense of timelessness and He came to this sin-sick planet and died a painful death so that one day He can bring me to the place my heart is endlessly searching for. The truth is, I am not a city girl or a country girl; I’m a heaven girl. This place is not my home. Until is it time for me to go home, I remain here in the winds of change where even the trees that can seem so timeless come and go.
Only God and His Word remain.
This is where I find my peace. It is where I place my faith and trust. It is in my LORD that I find what I am really longing for in the moments when I get lost in the beauty of the trees. In Him, I, too, can remain strong in faith no matter what the road ahead may bring and with Him, I am truly blessed for He is all that my heart is longing for.
“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord,
whose trust is the Lord.
He is like a tree planted by water,
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes,
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought,
for it does not cease to bear fruit.” Jeremiah 17:7-8