We All Need a Tree!
You ever get bogged down by the annoyances of your day?
Stream Founder and Publisher James Robison saw this sweet, inspiring post and shared it with us today. It’s about how one tradesman handles his daily troubles, and it’s worth a quick read.
I hired a plumber to help me restore an old farmhouse, and after he had just finished a rough first day on the job: a flat tire made him lose an hour of work, his electric drill quit and his ancient one ton truck refused to start. While I drove him home, he sat in stony silence. On arriving, he invited me in to meet his family.
As we walked toward the front door, he paused briefly at a small tree, touching the tips of the branches with both hands. When opening the door he underwent an amazing transformation… His face was wreathed in smiles and he hugged his two small children and gave his wife a kiss. Afterward he walked me to the car. We passed the tree and my curiosity got the better of me. I asked him about what I had seen him do earlier.
“Oh, that’s my trouble tree,” he replied. “I know I can’t help having troubles on the job, but one thing’s for sure, those troubles don’t belong in the house with my wife and the children… So I just hang them up on the tree every night when I come home and ask God to take care of them. Then in the morning I pick them up again.”
“Funny thing is,” he smiled, “when I come out in the morning to pick ‘em up, there aren’t nearly as many as I remember hanging up the night before.”
THIS ONE IS WORTH SENDING ON. Life may not be the party we hoped for, but while we are here we might as well dance. We all need a Tree!
God Appoints ‘Today’
Reading this story, I was reminded of a verse in Hebrews 4 that always sticks out to me. Here’s a shortened version:
Let us fear then! Though a promise of entering His rest is left open, some of you would seem to have fallen short. … Again, God appoints a certain day — “Today” — saying through David after so long a time, just as it has been said before, “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” … So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God. (Hebrews 4:1, 7, 9. Adapted from TLV.)
What is this? Isn’t the Sabbath one day of the week? Now we’re being told to rest “today,” which sounds like every day. Maybe we need one more verse. “So then it remains for some to enter into it; yet those who formerly had Good News proclaimed to them did not enter because of disobedience.” (Hebrews 4:6)
Alongside the theme of rest in Hebrews 4, there’s a repeated theme of disobedience — literally “not persuaded” or “willful disbelief” in the Greek — keeping us from rest.
So, to turn verse 6 around, believe in the Good News that was proclaimed to you and enter into rest.
If you have to go, just be reminded and encouraged that God cares for you and will provide for your needs. Believe His word. To quote Jesus, the Father cares for the needs of sparrows. “How much more valuable you are than birds!” (See Luke 12:22-31.)
If you’ve got a couple minutes, though, there’s some serious depth here, and I think it’ll bless your socks off.
What Does Resting Have to Do With Hearing His Voice?
If this chapter is telling us to rest, why does it quote Psalm 95? What does resting have to do with hearing His voice and not hardening your hearts?
The part that’s quoted comes from verses 7-9: “For He is our God, and we are the people of His pasture, the flock of His hand. Today, if you hear His voice: ‘Do not harden your heart as at Meribah, as in the day of Massah in the wilderness, when your fathers tested Me, they challenged Me, even though they had seen My work.”
The children of Israel had already seen God move mightily time and time again. They had seen the Lord deliver them from Egypt. They had seen the Lord part the sea. They had seen the Lord make bitter waters drinkable! They had seen the Lord provide manna for them to eat. But they still didn’t trust Him. In fact, they challenged Him — willfully disbelieving. And the Psalm ends telling us that God swore, “They shall never enter into My rest.”
So, because of their willful disbelief they were not able to rest.
Rest requires trusting the Lord, even through the hard and uncomfortable times. We know what He has already done for us. And we trust that He will provide this time, too.
The ‘Rock of Our Salvation’
But there is still more depth in what happened at Meribah. Exodus 17 tells us that the children of Israel got thirsty again and couldn’t find water. So they decided to abide in their complaints and test the Lord, saying, “Is the Lord among us, or not?”
So the Lord told Moses to go before the people with his staff. And the Lord said, “Behold, I will stand before you, there upon the rock in Horeb. You are to strike the rock, and water will come out of it.”
As I’ve been taught, the Hebrew there, “stand before you, there upon the rock,” implies that the Lord was between Moses and the rock. And we see a beautiful foreshadowing of the salvation that was to come in Jesus. God willing to take the hit for us.
Go back to the beginning of Psalm 95. Verse one reads, “O come, let us sing for joy to the Lord. Let us shout for joy to the rock of our salvation.”
The “rock of our salvation” has a little different meaning now, doesn’t it?
We All Need a Tree!
As that Facebook post said, “We all need a Tree!” Let us trust the Lord, who has proved himself time and again.
Therefore, since we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to our confessed allegiance. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all the same ways — yet without sin. Therefore let us draw near to the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace for help in time of need. (Hebrews 4:14-16, emphasis added)
Trust in the Lord! Take your troubles to Him, that you may “find grace for help in time of need.”
Austin Roscoe is The Stream’s web coordinator.