by Ruth DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter February 14, 2019

I spent many days of my childhood climbing trees. At the home where I grew up in Newnan, Georgia, there were three maple trees that crossed our front lawn. One particular maple tree was accessible to my young hands and legs. I could grab hold of its lowest branch and swing my legs up to hug the limb and then lift myself up into the tree. I would climb a little higher into the tree to a branch that was thick and strong. It could support my whole body, and I could lean against it almost like a chair just right for sitting and pondering. From the tree, I could view nests that the birds had made, and occasionally find a caterpillar’s cocoon. It was a place to explore and view life.

I still have a fondness for trees. I like a yard that is filled with trees. I love the changes that can be witnessed as trees go through each season – the buds of spring that turn to full greenness in summer, then the brilliant colors of autumn, and finally the barren branches of winter.

It is not lost on me that at one point in the history of Highland Hills we chose the tree as our symbol. That tree can be seen on our stationary, our website, and our bulletins. The symbol of the tree has been a part of our story for decades. Maybe you are aware of its presence, or maybe you have overlooked it.

Trees have lessons to teach us. The prophet Jeremiah says, “Blessed are those who trust in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. They shall be like a tree planted by water, sending out its roots by the stream. It shall not fear when heat comes, and its leaves shall stay green; in the year of drought it is not anxious, and it does not cease to bear fruit.” (Jeremiah 17:7-8) Jeremiah calls for us to understand that trust comes from deep within a nurtured relationship with God.

Yes, there is life in the desert, but it is not an easy life. A life lived by the water receives a steady source of nourishment. When drought comes, a tree by the water has the ability to reach deep into its root system for survival. It is the same for us when we put our trust in God. When we put ourselves in places that nurture – in prayer, in worship, in the study of God’s word – we are putting down roots that tap into living water. Unfortunately, drought will come into our lives, but we will survive. We will survive because we have learned the lesson of the tree and put our trust in God.