Wednesday, November 28, 2012


Joyce Kilmer. 1886–1918

I THINK that I shall never see

A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest

Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear

A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;

Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,

But only God can make a tree.

            This past week, my wife and I had the chance to travel to California and visit our son. While we were there, we visited Big Basin State Park. We drove along a very windy road in fog and drizzle to get there. As we drove, and as my stomach became more and more uneasy, I wondered if this trip was really worth the effort. We emerged from our car in the small parking lot at the heart of the park. Donning my thin jacket to shield me against the drizzle, we walked into the woods.

            As we walked along, I was immediately captured by the beauty and awe of my surroundings. The centerpiece of this park is the giant redwoods. They towered high above us as we walked. Their massive bodies, straight as an arrow, were thrust up into the air. We came to a particular tree, named Mother of the Forest. It stands 329 feet tall and is 70 feet in circumference at the base. When you stand at the base of that tree, you cannot help but be in awe of what God has created.

            The Psalmist gives voice to the awe that God’s creation stirs within us. The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard. Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world. Psalms 19:1-4 (NIV) Language, culture, or social status are not barriers to hearing the voice of God proclaimed through what He has made. When you stand at the base of one of those massive redwoods, you cannot help but exclaim praise and wonder. Even those who, for whatever reason, do not acknowledge God exclaim words of praise at his handiwork.

            The Psalmist also reminds us that the tree is a symbol of our relationship with God. Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. But his delight is in the law of the LORD, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Whatever he does prospers. Psalms 1:1-3 (NIV)

            When we put our faith in Christ, we sink our roots deep into his love and grace. He nourishes our soul, allowing us to withstand the stresses and pressures of life. He makes us truly productive people. Our “fruit” makes a difference for eternity. It is not just a passing fancy.

            When I see the amazing world that God has created, I stand in awe of His love for me.

Psalms 8:1-9 (NIV)
O LORD , our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens. From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise because of your enemies, to silence the foe and the avenger. When I consider your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, the son of man that you care for him? You made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor. You made him ruler over the works of your hands; you put everything under his feet: all flocks and herds, and the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, all that swim the paths of the seas. O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!

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