Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Sheltering Tree~

A few days ago, after a long day at work, I couldn't wait to get home, trade my shoes for a pair of flip flops, and step out into the shade and relaxation waiting for me on our back patio. Imagine my surprise, when I drew back the blinds and reached for the handle of our sliding glass door, only to find sunlight flooding not only our backyard, but every single inch of our patio. How could this be? What had happened to our shady backyard?

Evidently, while I had been "slaving" away at work, someone else had been slaving away cutting down the huge cottonwood tree in the yard that backs up to ours.The heat from the sun was intense and so was my disappointment.

Why? Why would they do that? Each summer, I counted on the long branches of this tree to provide me with a cool oasis in the midst of the southwestern desert heat! NO! This couldn't be. NO! This was all wrong. As I stood there looking out my sliding glass door, covered from head to toe by the sunlight now streaming in, God used this moment to illuminate my own life and speak to my heart.

Everywhere we look and every place we go, we find people in need of a spiritual oasis. The struggles, trials, and heartaches that often accompany life can be relentless at times - beating down on us until we are weak, dehydrated, and desperately in need of a time of refreshment. God created you and me to be an umbrella of His love to those in need. Our prayers, our words of encouragement, our helping hands or listening ears can help to shield a hurting heart from the heat of life. Just like I had counted on the cottonwood tree to be there for me, people in our lives are counting on us.

How many times have I disappointed others by failing to provide them with the “shade” they are so desperately counting on?

How many times have I taken care of my own needs without giving any thought to the timing or the subsequent consequences of my actions in the lives of those around me?

How many people have come to me hoping to find shelter from the heat of the battles in their lives only to be disappointed with my lack of interest, lack of compassion, and lack of support?

{Photo Source}
As I slowly closed the blinds, I realized God was doing some pruning of His own… in my heart.

Maybe, instead of going out into my backyard, God was challenging me to step out my front door and into the lives of those around me.

Maybe, God was desperately trying to open my heart to the simple truth found in Proverbs 11:25: “those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed”.

 Maybe, God was trying to teach me that my finding shade wasn’t nearly as important as my giving it away to others.~

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