Taut to Praise

“I love to think of nature as an unlimited broadcasting station, through which God speaks to us every hour, if we will only tune in.” – George Washington Carver

I was wandering in the woods the other day. Glad to be able to move and enjoy the cool wind moving around me. I was upright and walking and it felt good. I thanked God and raised my face with a smile towards the sunshine slicing through the trees.

There are other times, and I suspect you can relate, when I have been completely bent over. Weighed down in stunning fashion with burdens sapping my strength and will to cope. I’ve spent days and weeks and months looking downward because of a hurt that crushed the body and threatened to drown the spirit. My outlook on that path, even knowing I was held in God’s love, was bleak. Such journeys give lots of time to ponder very intimately the dust from which we are made. Mind you that old path is never far away; I catch glimpses of it in the deeper woods around me. A walk through illness or deep trauma draws you taut like a bowstring. The bow of suffering has no particular target and you long for release from the gripping pull.

And then there is the bow (the one that rhymes with “wow”).  When you’re bent low and your arms are thrown wide in a plea for help, you’re in the right position to release an arrow of praise. Praise flies true when it comes from the exercise of ongoing bent-ness released to God. It ends in a grace-filled bow to the Creator-shaper of the bends in our lives. Shadows are what we see when our eyes are cast to the ground. But the shadows are from the gentle shelter of His wings.

tree2aThose were the thoughts in my head when I saw the tree. It was not straight and tall and magnificent. It was hunched over. The branches arced down low to the ground from some slow process of incorrect growth.

The tree was unusually formed but not broken. Living contentedly. The branches that should have shot to the sky were instead sweeping down towards the ground. Graceful. Grace filled. I had stumbled upon a private conversation of praise released from the bow.

“Then the trees of the woods shall rejoice before the Lord, For He is coming to judge the earth.” I Corinthians 16:33

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