Saturday, February 23, 2008

The Tree

As I prepared my cup to pour in coffee this morning, I saw a cat chase a squirrel up a tree in the neighbor’s back yard. I watched fascinated at the squirrel went up higher on the barren branches that swayed in the breeze. The cat tried to go higher, but backed down as the weaker limbs would not support its weight. The squirrel flicked its tail and would go back down the branch just to the point it seemed to know that the cat could not pass and tease the cat. The cat twisted around on the branch and tried to ascend up the branch again to no avail. Finally after being teased several times and several failed attempts to ascend, the cat jumped out of the tree and out of view. I watched the squirrel jump to another tree and then to the alley fence. Off he went about his day.

I thought about that scenario and how it related to my experience this past week. I could relate to the squirrel. I felt like I was chased by the enemy who wanted to torment me and eat me up.

Some circumstance came up that chased me up that tree. As I went up higher, I swayed in the wind, frightened. Though none of the circumstances were devastating, just the repetitions over time finally got to me to a point of burning frustration. I came to a place where I was on top of that limb and felt like all hope was gone.

I entertained thoughts that were ungodly. The Word of God is very clear to take captive of thoughts that do not line up with the His Word. (2 Cor. 10:5) I allowed fear to over take my mind and became anxious. In this, I grieved the Holy Spirit and I felt like I was left alone. (I know God promises to never leave me or forsake me and for that I’m thankful.)

During this time, I felt separated from God. I felt alone. In Genesis, Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Because of their sin they were separated from God. God placed cherubim with a flaming sword flashing back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. The human race was separated from God by sin.

In my sin this past week, I was separated from God and I felt the sheer terror of it. In my terror, I questioned my salvation. I questioned if I could be used by God. Like Elijah after he was used by God to defeat the prophets of Baal. Jezabel threatened to kill him and he felt weary and weak. He said, "I have had enough, LORD, Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors." (1 Kings 19:4 NIV)

In this terror, I felt so frightened; it was worse than the scariest horror movie. Just the short time of separation my Lord, horrified me and I realized I’d never want that for an eternity. Thank God He never left me. Then the Lord woke me up and said, “Get up and eat.” (1 Kings 19:5) I got up and took in His word which gave me strength to confess my sins and repent of my wicked thoughts.

I laid down again and then again, I felt the Lord nudge me as He did Elijah. "Get up and eat, for the journey is too much for you." (1 Kings 19:7 NIV) The Lord has plans for me, a journey. I need to eat from His word for my strength. My strength is in HIM.

God’s wisdom is a tree of life.

Proverbs 3:18 NIV

She is a tree of life to those who embrace her;
those who lay hold of her will be blessed.

Like that squirrel, I shall embrace the tree—the tree of life. Jesus Christ who is the vine. He came so that I might have life and have it to the full. (John 10:10) As I submitted myself to the Lord, resisted the enemy, he fled. (James 4:7) Like that cat, he jumped out of the tree and left the squirrel alone.

God’s word from Genesis to Revelation is all about redemption. I am redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. He promised, “To him who overcomes, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” (Revelation 2:7 NIV)

We are more than conquerors and nothing shall separate us from His love for us! What a wonderful promise and hope we have in HIM!!

Romans 8:31-39 NIV

31What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? 32He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? 33Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. 34Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. 35Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 36As it is written:
"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered." 37No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Blessings in Christ--

6 gracious comments:

Bev Brandon said...

I have been up and down that tree this week, a few times. And my God has so shown up and I am so delighted in HIM and finding a rest I have known NOT. How are you Shonda? Loved your words, as always!

Anonymous said...

we are never out of HIS reach, and that is something I try to remember when the enemy chases me..the only place to run is in the Word, and believe that you are blessed, accepted, loved, forgiven, redeemed and adopted in Christ! I have had you on my heart, and this week has been an uphill climb for me too. I just love you Princess, we are going to make it, and it is going to be worth it! Love Darla

marina said...

Thanks ,Shonda for sharing these God has given you wisdom.marina

Ang baylis said...

I'm praying for you, Shonda! I love how your stories always have to do with how He is working in your life through all of the circumstances.
Angie xoxo

Anonymous said...

hey girl left you something on my blog! love you hope you are having an awesome day! Darla

Fran said...

You stay with Him! You stay in His Word. You pray often. He's right with ya. He's got your back and then some! :)

I'm thankful that you kept coming back to Him.

I hope Monday is a wonderful free from wild tree jumps and rides!