Looking to the Maker of Trees
I finally started going to Bible study again last week. I took a few years’ break to be pregnant with twins, birth twins, and survive the first two years with twins. But excuses only work so long, even adorable little matching ones.
I was disappointed to learn that we’d be studying with the book You Can Change by Tim Chester, not because I am so ridiculously fabulous and unneeding of change, but because I am so ridiculously cheap and didn’t want to drop $12 for a book to remind me that I’m an asshole. But I know that there are things about me that are in desperate need of change, and I miss the closeness of the One who can change them, so I decided to go anyway.
Using a tree as an illustration for ourselves, we talked about how the apples we bear are our behaviors. We talked about our tendency to try to gather apples to somehow fasten to our trees –to try to “put on” new behaviors– and how easily those falsely gained apples die. We talked about becoming rooted in Christ so that we could bear good and lasting fruit. And these all seemed like great thoughts to me.
Then a woman shared her concerns about raising her daughter not to use swear words, and it launched a discussion with general consensus being that was, indeed, a concern because, of course, swear words are bad apples that need fixing. And I just sat there and thought, Fuck.
I realized we were awfully focused on the apples and trees.
I know that to make any sort of change we have to take an honest look at ourselves, but I also know that my tendency as a writer/blogger/generally self-centered person is to become stuck in that inverted posture. And I know just enough of God and myself to realize that I can never change when I’m looking at myself and not Him.
Yes, I have bad apples. I know it. I hate it. But I am so deeply tired of looking at my damn apples and the knotted, weathered tree on which they hang. I want to rest my eyes and heart on the Maker of the trees because I am wholly dependent upon Him to grow my roots deep down into the healthy soil of faith.
No tree in nature ever commanded, “Dig down, roots! Sprout forth, fruit!” The only trees that ever bear fruit– in fact, the only trees that ever survive— are the ones to which nature gives favor.
I hope the end of this study will find me changed after all. But more than that, I hope it will find me fixed on the Maker of trees, the Giver of favor, and, so fixed, changed.