by Melissa Campbell
The cutting came with painful and persistent precision, the first blow unexpected and out of the blue. Not understanding, I hung my head, waiting to see the bigger picture, hoping to make some sense of the news.
Cold winds brought the winter in, and with it another blow. I looked for mercy but there was none. I cried out for a savior, but He was strangely silent. I had been betrayed and abandoned. I was sure of it. But how could the One Who Loves allow this violent mutilation of what was once His beautification of me? The burning of my branches, the stripping away my leaves?
When it seemed I would die from the wounding, a glimmer of light shone on my naked tree-skin. Oh, the shame of it, the baring of my soul, no longer covered in glorious color, no longer stretching high to touch the clouds. Grief. Lament. A river of tears. And fear. Who was to be trusted? Surely not the One who wounded me.
In the midst of anger and rage, a desperate thirst for grace, I discovered I would rather die than lose me. But there was no hiding it. I was a stump, a bare and broken remains of what I used to be. Still I lived.
I could understand the loss if my branches were dead. But this was a cutting of all that was good. My trunk had grown so stately and strong, persevering through the harshest of storms, and reaching up joyfully to the One who planted me. In the waking of the dawn, and in the cool of the evening I sang His melodies. I was just learning to be free, or so I thought.
I took pride in my leaves, fluttering gracefully in mid-air, and my agile branches waving, bending in the wind. When the blistering sun rose high above me, I felt not the burn of its brightness, but reflected its glory, and became willing shade for those who needed rest.
No sign of former glory now. The One with the knife was patiently thorough, removing all evidence of growth, leaving behind only scars and ugly wounds running free with sap. I am alone now. No friend enjoys my shade. No bird rests in my canopy. Even the One who wounded has ceased to speak to me.
The sun has blinded my eyes and seared my skin. I can no longer look upon myself or within. Is there evidence to who I really am? Nothing left for eyes to see. Some think I am still depressed. They look at me and shake their heads, wondering how I can live content without branches.
But I am no longer attached to the opinions of man. I yearn only for the One who wounded me. I got tired of asking Him, "Why?" and admitted maybe He knows better. One morning, I heard Him whisper, "Thanks for singing my song."
And then I remembered the words I used to sing, a beautiful prayer, learned from another lover, who hoped for fruit worthy of a king.
"Unmovable, unshakable. Let my roots go down deep. Unmovable, unshakable in you."
Now a stirring, not evident to onlookers, not clearly seen by me. A growing and going down deep of my roots, breaking through the rocks and barren brown of earthly soil, reaching low to where the streams of living water flow. If you listen, you will hear water gushing through my veins, a surging, splurging, healing me of my purging, the releasing and restoring of life, from a Source I didn't know existed. This is the sound of humility.
In the midst of my despair I taste glorious hope. I will become something more and something less than what I used to be. Far greater will be my success in producing fruit for the kingdom, for now the blood of greatness runs through the heart of me. New branches are just beginning to be seen, shooting out to drink in the light, and budding with new leaves. I will be what the Pruner makes of me. Selah.
Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me.
~Phil 3:8-12 (NKJV)
Today, I am sharing this poem with One Word at a Time Blog Carnival, hosted by Peter Pollock at his blog, PeterPollock.com. The theme today is, Broken.
Photo Credit: flickr - Kiwi Flickr
Lyrics: Tree / Found Faithful by Justin Rizzo