What The Boy Did

The boy’s father once saw him sitting close to a fire.  “Don’t sit too near the fire, son, you could get hurt.”  The little boy looked at his father and moved closer.  The fire burned his fingers and scorched his arms.  “Why did you let this happen?” The boy angrily shouted at his father.  Another time the father noticed his son climbing higher and higher up the trunk of a tall tree.  “Don’t go so high, son,” his father called, “you could get hurt.”  The boy looked at his father and climbed higher.  He lost his grip and fell to the ground breaking his arm.  “Why did you let this happen?” The boy angrily shouted at his father.  The boy began to spend time with other boys who constantly got into trouble.  His father noticed and said, “Be careful who you choose for friends, son, you could get hurt.”   The boy laughed at his father and spent even more time with these friends.  In time the boy was caught breaking into a store.  He was arrested and ended up in jail.  “Why did you let this happen?”  The boy angrily shouted at his father.

As an American I relate this story to this country of my birth, but it can be attributed to many situations and places.  Our Father God, upon whose concepts America was founded gives us many warnings, urging us to take care or we could get hurt.  Instead of honoring His instructions, we have ignored them.  We have taken prayer out of school, insisted the ten commandments be taken out of our court rooms, refuse prayer at football games and other community events, and attempt to close the mouths of those who want to speak His words.

Then, when shootings take place in our schools where we told God He was no longer allowed, we shout angrily, “why God did you let this happen?  When the numbers of prisoners increase when we have taken down the laws of God in society, we angrily shout, “Why God did you let this happen?”  When violence erupts in public places where we have attempted to shut the mouths of everyone who would pray or speak in the name of God, we shout in great anger, “Why, God, did you let this happen?”

In His eternal love and patience, God says to us in Joel 2:13, “Don’t tear your clothing in your grief, but tear your hearts instead. Return to the Lord your God for He is merciful and compassionate, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love.  He is eager to relent and not punish.”

There is always hope — when we invite our Father to come into the situation.

 

Dead Or Alive

Today I went on a beautiful walk in the countryside with a friend of mine.  We had her dog with us who was happily running up and down the pathway.  We walked past a field of sheep and crossed a bridge over a narrow river.  The sun was shining; it was truly a beautiful day.  As we walked along, a particular tree caught my attention.  I remembered seeing this tree on past walks along this same route.

The tree seemed to be split and yet it was clearly one.  The right side of the tree displayed its leafy branches.  The left side, in contrast, displayed a few clumps of leaves here and there, but it was obviously without some life.  This tree was like this a year ago.  Therefore,  I was amazed that it had any life left, but as I said, the right side was thriving in beauty.

When I returned home after our walk, I could not get the image of the tree out of my mind.  The verse in Romans 6:11 came to my mind.  “Consider yourselves to be dead unto the power of sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  I thought to myself that our lives are not unlike the tree.  We come to know Jesus and we are made new, clean, forgiven of every sin.  Just as we had a choice to invite Jesus into our lives, we also have a daily choice to follow Him or not.  We can learn more of Him.  We can talk to Him.  We can learn to listen to and hear Him.  We can be like the side of the tree that’s full of life, bearing its leaves of luscious green beauty or we can be like the side of the tree that lives like it’s dead.  

Even though we have the Holy Spirit within us, we have the freedom to make the saddest of choices — the choice to ignore Him.  We can let the ungodly things of the world creep in and choke the spiritual life out of us or we can grow tall and strong and beautiful in Him.  What a lovely and very important choice we have to make.  We must make it daily.  

What kind of tree do we want to be?  As if we are dead or knowing that we are alive.