The Lord spoke through Isaiah about the people of God, saying,
For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people…(Isaiah 65:22)
We are many ways in which we are like a tree.
After I became born-again, I found I had a great affinity with trees. I love them; it is as simple as that.
The psalmist said that we are like a tree planted by the water (Psalm 1:3).
Jesus compared the kingdom to how a tree grows (Luke 13:18,19).
Even the wicked are compared to trees, which spread themselves out.
They do not always bear fruit (Matthew 7:19).
Some Christians are called trees without fruit, pulled up by the roots (Jude 1:12,13).
Like a tree, we also experience different seasons.
I often wish my entire life was one long continuous autumn, where my bows hang heavy with fruit, but the fact is, winter will soon come, followed by the new growth of spring, and a long summer where it looks like nothing is happening at all.
Each season is as important as the next, each playing a significant part the process of our bearing fruit, including the deadness of winter and the long hot summer. Without these, there would be nothing to harvest in autumn.
Everything that happens to the tree is all geared toward one thing; producing fruit.
Our spiritual lives are all about seed, growth, and multiplication.
Everything that a tree needs in order to grow is what causes us to grow too. We need to be watered, exposed nutrition, good soil, sunshine.
Even the adversity of wind and winter is helpful in producing root growth, which is important growth.
Anything that can limit or reduce a tree’s growth can also prevent us from growing, such as drought, disease, and distress.
Most trees get a ring a year, which implies slow, continual, steady growth.
The slowest growing trees are often the most useful. We can find a million uses for their hard wood.
Some trees are only good for one purpose, while others can accomplish many things.
The trees that grow in a spurious way are not usually very useful. They grow fast, but the word is not solid or reliable.
Some trees loom large, but have a surprisingly little roots system.
Some trees don’t look like they grow much, but they have tenacious roots, like the old Cedar tree which clings to the mountain-side.
Like a tree, our growth pattern is circular, rather than one long line of growth that goes up through the center of the tree. This means that whatever we are working on will come around again, and will need to be worked again.
Whatever we have needed grace for in the past, we will need grace for again in the future.
Whatever we have had to learn before will need to be learned again, only going a ply deeper each time. The number of rings we gain can be a sign of maturity.
I think the idea of our having rings like a tree is closer to reality for the Christian life. If you think of our life as being on one long, continual, straight-line upward growth, we will be disappointed whenever we have to revisit an issue again.
When we have struggled with an issue in one area of our lives it is normal to have that deal with it again. It is not a failure on our part to have to do this, it’s just another ring in the tree. This helps us to learn more in order to grow deeper.
When the same issue comes around again, and we use it to grown from, we have the chance to bear even more fruit. And like a tree we tend to grow the most after a time of pruning. (John 15:2)
Life is not one-dimensional; there are lots of different areas to our life. It is possible to be in one season in one area, and another season in another area. We can be momentarily fruitful in one area, and momentarily barren in another.
I suspect that our life is more like the Tree of Life that grows by the river in the book of Revelation. (22:1-3)
It bears twelve kinds of fruit, each in its season.
Each season is a month long. (Everything is accelerated in heaven)
I feel like I am always in all twelve seasons of life all at the same time.
I am growing fruit in one area, while another part of me is in winter, or and another area of my life is being pruned.
I can be in a dozen different stages of growth, in different areas of our life, all happening at the same time.
There can also twelve different kinds of fruit being produced in me at the same time.
There are at least a dozen major areas to our lives:
1. Our Relationship with God
2. Our Marital (Parental) Relationship
3. Our Extended Family Relationships
4. Our Friendships, Fellowship, and Relationships
5. Our Spiritual Well-being
6. Our Emotional Well-being
7. Our Physical Well-being
8. Our jobs or business (more than one)
9. Our Ministries (more than one)
10. Our Recreational Life
11. Our Financial Growth and Well-being
12. The Cultivation of Our Gifts and Talents
When we are not producing as well as we should, sometimes God has to duns us up, hoping to get one more season of fruit out of us. (Luke 13:6-9).
This means there is hope for us, even when we are not producing.
Finally, one of the most cherish revelations I have begun to grasp of my relationship to God in recent years has been to realize that He is a husbandman to
He thinks like a farmer. He knows how to get things to grow. He can grow me. He is happiest when I am healthy, productive, and fruitful. Just like a farmer who is satisfied when a particular vine really produces, He is glorified by the fruitfulness of my life.
In what other ways do you see how your life is like a tree?
I wrote extensively about the characteristics of the trees of the wilderness listed in Isaiah chapter 41 in my book “Welcome to the Wilderness”, which you can find within this online bookstore.