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Becoming a Sheltering Tree – Friendship & Faith

“He will be like a tree
firmly planted by streams of water,
Which yields its fruit in its season
And its leaf does not wither;
And in whatever he does, he prospers.”
                                                 Psalm 1:3

Yesterday the theme of the day was trees. Twice during the day, I came upon tree analogies. Fitting for a day spent outside enjoying the leafy landscape.

Friendship

The first was in a morning devotional by Chuck Swindoll, who quoted poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge. “Friendship is a sheltering tree.” Swindoll described the role of friendship in the midst of difficulty, specifically in regards to 2 Samuel 15 where King David flees Zion, to escape death at the hand of his son, Absalom. Absalom was seeking the throne from his father, at all costs. Men loyal to David showed their support by staying with him and fleeing their homes and land. Their act of support and allegiance greatly encouraged David.

I agree with Swindoll and Coleridge, true friendship is a sheltering tree. I’m so grateful for those in my life who spread their strong arms of faith like towering branches over me, offering me protection, comfort like much needed shade from the blistering heat of the day and a respite from the strong winds of discouragement by offering love, honesty, God’s truth & laughter.

Faith

Late afternoon I took a walk near my home, an area replete with a wealth of trees. Many are tall and skinny, trembling and bending at the first sign of wind. The wooded landscape is also dotted with mature trees, here and there. They stand strong, boldly facing the wind, as if unafraid. On my walk, I spotted the tree in the picture above, standing strong, branches reaching out.

While walking I was listening to a sermon by Michael Youssef on Luke 13:19, where Jesus is teaching the parable of the mustard seed.

“It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and threw into his own garden;  and it grew and became a tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”        Luke 13:19

Youssef stated that the man in the parable represents God, who as a gardener, threw a tiny mustard seed into his garden. The mustard seed represents our faith, individually, growing into maturity. Youssef summed up by saying what God sowed, would indeed grow strong.

Facing the struggles of each day, my faith is tested. Faith by its very nature must be tested, by the strong winds of adversity. I’m enormously encouraged that God continues to grow my faith into maturity, as I fix my eyes on Him. May I become a sheltering tree of mature faith.

Who are the sheltering trees in your life?

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